Sunday, May 10, 2009
Mobile TV – Will it Click
Mobile TV is a service that allows user to watch television over mobile devices such as Mobile phones .This service is generally provided by telecom network providers . This is one of the features generally provided as part of 3G services but can also be provided otherwise.South Korea was the first country to introduce Mobile TV. In India Mobile TV is launched by several operators for eg BSNL introduced this service in eastern and north eastern regions in 2007 with a service name Isee. With the launch of 3G services by BSNL MobileTv has again got a boost. Other players like UTV, National geographic Channel , Reliance Communications , MTNL , BSNL are also joining the bandwagon.
Despite Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) approval of TV access on Mobile , service providers cant provide much because of spectrum and regulatory issues by Ministry of Information and broadcast. The regulations don't allow a direct transmission of TV Channels leaving the operators trying out other strategies like Unicasting the content to the users ie one handset get the content from the central repository and transmits it to other through wireless network, this consumes huge resources like bandwidth etc which doesn't allow operators to benefit much from the service.
UTV New Media , has launched a music video channel on Mobile TV named UTVatPlay. This will allow users to view music video in various languages. This application can be downloaded by the users of BSNL , MTNL , Idea and Vodafone using GPRS and is available at a price of Rs 30 Per month. According to T N Prabhu, CEO, UTV New Media, “We are extremely pleased to launch music video channel on UTV@play which is India’s first full music video channel giving the subscriber an absolute TV viewing experience on the mobile handset. We are sure that the youth will accept with utmost zeal and enthusiasm.” With the help of this service people can play songs with a touch of a button and have a huge database of 20k plus songs at their disposal.
Reliance Communications has been providing Mobile TV to its users via R-World offering news etc. According to Krishna Durbha, Head Business and Marketing, VAS Reliance Communications “While its difficult to quantify the number of users, Reliance has revenues in a few lakhs every month through its mobile TV offering. We are currently offering 11 news channel. A user can watch TV on the handset with a lag of a few minutes as they are not transmitted live,”.
Aircel has also launched Mobile TV for just Rs 49 per month having a wide array of 31plus channels giving users the ability to catch with news, entertainment while on move.
With a huge base (300 Million) of Mobile Phone users and an addition of around 10 million per months , Mobile TV seems to be a promising platform. According to SpringBoard Research , Mobile TV market can reach $360 million in India with a penetration of 5-6 % in the first year itself that means over 20million subscribers in the first year itself. According to SpringBoard research 34% people says that they will be interested in this service if it is available and affordable.
Mobile TV may seems to be a silver line for the Indian Telecom Industry where Average Revenue per User ( ARPU) even for top players like Reliance , Bharti Airtel, Idea is falling by 10-15%. Mobile TV can help them boost their revenues as telecom operators are relying heavily on value added services to boost revenue. According to Bayypunedi, director and founder of Apalya Technologies “Other than the spectrum issues, constrain in handset, standardization of technology platform are some of the barriers for the growth of this segment. Moreover, India is still predominantly a prepaid market. In such a scenario getting the volumes is difficult,”.
Mobile TV seems to be having a promising future but some issues need to be resolved before it becomes a reality.