Home  › Marketing › Strategies

Mobile Video in Real Time

  |  January 27, 2006   |  Comments

Beyond digital downloads: a new wave of live mobile TV services is just around the corner. What does it mean for advertisers?

Just when you got used to the idea that your audience can download video to their cell phones and iPods, there's a new, live, revolution around the corner. Through companies like MobiTV and SmartVideo, it's now possible (though few are currently doing so) to watch live video programming from well-known providers like ABC News on cell phones. And if announcements made at NATPE this week are any indication, the opportunities will only expand in coming months.

In one development, an outfit called Modeo (fka Crown Castle Mobile Video) is planning to use the Digital Video Broadcasting – Handheld (DVB-H) standard to deliver live mobile TV to the top 30 markets across the U.S. Simultaneously, the company joined with tech players Motorola, Intel, Nokia and Texas Instruments to form the Mobile Digital Television Alliance to push the open standard. Qualcomm, on the other hand, has teamed with Verizon Wireless, proprietor of the Vcast service, to deploy live broadcasts based on the MediaFLO system. The South Korean DMB is also enabling live mobile broadcasts.

Now, don't let your eyes glaze over just because I'm using technological acronyms. What it really means is live video delivered in real time, which is cheaper than some of the other options because it's one-to-many rather than one-to-one. And it needn't be on a cell phone, either. The new technology standards are completely separate from the existing cellular networks, so users could either watch video on a cell phone equipped with the new technology, or access it via an appropriately-equipped PC, or iPod, or other portable device.

Consumers seem interested in this type of scenario. A JupiterResearch report issued in April 2005 found 15 percent of online users were interested in watching live TV programs, while only 7 percent expressed interest in downloaded video clips.

"People will probably do both," Julie Ask, senior analyst at JupiterResearch, told me. "Here's the best example. If I'm in the airport and it's Thursday afternoon at 4:00. I want to watch a two minute clip of world news. But if it's 9/11, I want to see that live."

What about ads? A recent Starcom USA survey found nearly 70 percent of consumers would prefer to download ad-free content, but almost one in five would still download ad-supported content. If it were sponsored or had a brand integrated, even more would download it. In contrast, a recent Points North Group survey found that users nearly three to one preferred free ad-supported content over paying $1.99 for ad-free content. That survey focused on online, satellite or cable distribution, however, rather than mobile. Needless to say, the jury's still out.

I'm willing to wager, however, we'll see advertising take a prominent place in mobile video, and potentially live mobile video, in the months and years to come. The Mobile Marketing Association's executive director, Laura Marriott, agrees. "Mobile video advertising is one of the next focus areas for our standards discussion," she told me, adding that Verizon Wireless, MobiTV, AOL, and Zingy are participating in talks. "We all believe that it is going to be a significantly large opportunity."

Some considerations as this future begins to emerge:

  • Interactivity -- While these new live mobile TV technologies don't appear to enable interactivity themselves, Jupiter's Ask suggests they'd be integrated with cellular phone networks to provide the back-and-forth capability. I can't imagine any new medium being launched today without such interactive capabilities.

    So imagine all the features we've discussed for interactive TV, such as database building, the ability to watch more lengthy sponsor content, and the like, but on a device that is inherently more lean-forward than TV. In the case of the phone, it's also inherently a communications device (like the PC), so something like click-to-call is a natural.

  • Targeting -- Does "broadcast" take us back to the dark ages when you couldn't "get to know" your viewer via their behavior? It seems so. But perhaps data generated through interactivity could be brought to bear to customize programming and advertising.

  • Challenges -- The biggest challenge is also the smallest -- audience size. "The big challenge is inventory," says Ask. "Not a lot of people watch this, so how do you get a big enough market that makes it worth your while?" The most significant value -- for now and in the near-term future -- is in the learning to be gained. It's learning that could be extremely valuable as adoption rates climb.
What do you do about it now? You might try contacting MobiTV, Modeo, SmartVideo or one of their content partners, including the free ad-supported Digital Music Video Network, and throw some experimental dollars in the direction of live mobile video.

If you do, or if you're already involved, I'd love to hear from you.

ClickZ Live New York What's New for 2015?
You spoke, we listened! ClickZ Live New York (Mar 30-Apr 1) is back with a brand new streamlined agenda. Don't miss the latest digital marketing tips, tricks and tools that will make you re-think your strategy and revolutionize your marketing campaigns. Super Saver Rates are available now. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pamela Parker

Pamela Parker is a former managing editor of ClickZ News, Features, and Experts. She's been covering interactive advertising and marketing since the boom days of 1999, chronicling the dot-com crash and the subsequent rise of the medium. Before working at ClickZ, Parker was associate editor at @NY, a pioneering Web site and e-mail newsletter covering New York new media start-ups. Parker received a master's degree in journalism, with a concentration in new media, from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.

WEBINARS

Resources

Jobs

    • Customer Service Consultant
      Customer Service Consultant (Bonner and Partners) - Delray BeachBonner & Partners: Full-time Customer Service Consultant Position Who we are...
    • Financial Editor
      Financial Editor (Confidential) - DurhamSIX FIGURE EDITORS WANTED: To enforce lofty NEW editing standards. Easy Conditions Unlikely. Promotion and...
    • Information Processing Specialist
      Information Processing Specialist (Agora Inc. ) - BaltimoreInformation Processing Specialist – The IP specialist position ensures the successful...