Archive for March 2008
Make it free, or no one will watch
A survey featured in Business Week says what I’ve not so secretly been expecting for some time. Mobile TV users are a stingy lot.
Much-hyped operational trials (such as the DVB-H trial in Oxford a couple of years ago) have always ended with the operator judging that users will happily pay for the service.
Business Week is highlighting a report which says that users don’t want to pay anything like what the operators think they will, and to spur takeup, the services should be ad-supported and either much cheaper, or free.
I hope they’re not actually thinking they can begin to charge later on! Once a service goes free, it stays free. Look at web subscription models for general news and information. Oh you can’t, because there aren’t any anymore.
Here’s a RedHerring piece from the days of the Oxford mobile TV trial. Look toward the end and you’ll see that O2 were expecting consumers to pay £8-£10 a month for tv on the go.
I bet they’re rethinking that investment case now. It may not be worth bidding for the new spectrum, in which case OFCOM may as well let Big TV have some extra space so it can run a decent 21st century public television service on Freeview.
Otherwise Britain’s DTT ambitions might end up going the way of DAB.
Unusually, Britain already leading in this area
Only 14% of US mobile phone users have a data plan. Now this surprised me as I expect America to lead in this area, particularly with the internet being much more entrenched.
I’ve had a flat rate data plan for the last year, and I could have had one before that, but there weren’t the devices to utilise all-you-can-eat data (at least ones I thought were useful to me, and at the right price).
The point is that when you’re not having to count every kilobyte, you use more data. This means mobile media, things like downloading audio and video will be used more, probably at the expense of live viewing and listening.
I’m not saying radio and TV will die, just the use of these mediums will drift away from the linear, and only gradually – a small percentage a year. Then usage will find a new balance between live and recorded media consumption, until the next wave of technology.
I love the audio download application on my phone. I hardly ever use the FM radio on my phone (though I’m glad it’s there) but find radio downloads far more useful. I can listen to what I want, when I want.
If you got the right Nokia phone with flat rate data, there a specific application you can download. There are probably others, drop a note if you know of any.
And when you’ve got it installed try out the Guardian’s weekly technology round up. There’s an RSS link on this page, or you can just listen via the embedded MP3.
(Of particular note with Nokia’s app is the ability to start listening to a programme before the whole file has finished downloading. That means I can start downloading when I leave work, begin listening when I get on the train and continue downloading when the train gets back within the coverage area again)