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South Korea and Japan Still Lead Mobile TV

Revenues from mobile TV services will generate $1.5 billion in 2008, rising to over $10 billion in 2013. At present the revenues are predominantly from subscription fees, but this is expected to change over time as the advertising business model starts to gain prominence.

Informa Telecoms & Media believes that by 2013 nearly half of the revenues will come from advertising.

In the next two years, growth is anticipated to be strongest in the pioneering markets of South Korea and Japan before the rest of the world starts to catch up around 2010 to 2011.

Despite isolated success stories in places like Italy and Austria, Europe is not expected to see rapid growth in mobile TV until 2009. The USA is expected to take even longer as confusion over standards prevents growth.

Eventually, Informa believes that concerted momentum behind ATSC-MH is expected to boost the market for mobile TV in North America. Frankly, I'm less optimistic about the U.S. market adoption potential, but only time will tell.

"As the owner of the marketing and billing relationship with subscribers, operators are in the best position to offer mobile TV services," comments Shailendra Pandey, Senior Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.

It seems that a good approach for mobile operators will be to start with a free-to-air business model which also involves minimum capital investment.

Once user uptake of services starts to grow, operators can then think of developing new revenue models that can be established on top of the free-to-air content platform.

Most in the industry believed that mobile TV was going to reach the mass market a lot earlier than has been the case. A number of market and technology barriers have conspired to delay the widespread adoption of mobile TV by consumers and growth in many regions is still fragile.

Research from Informa Telecoms & Media shows that the future of Mobile TV will not be just broadcast or 3G but will be a mix of technologies matched to a mix of audience experiences.

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