Driven largely by news, weather and sports channels, the market for mobile video content reached 3.7 million subscribers in the second quarter of 2006, a 45 percent jump over Q1 numbers.
According to a report released Monday by mobile industry watcher Telephia, ABC News was the most watched channel on cell phones in the quarter with a 40 percent share of the total market. The Weather Channel, Fox Sports, ESPN and Fox News rounded out the top five.
The numbers from Telephia, taken from a tracking panel of 35,000 mobile phone users, confirm analysts’ predictions that the nascent sector will enjoy phenomenal growth over the next three years.
In an interview with ClickZ, director of product management at Telephia Tamara Gaffney said subscription numbers cited in the report represents mobile phone users who were consuming content via free trials or converting to paid subscriptions to Verizon’s VCast, Sprint’s Power Vision or MobiTV.
Citing “instability” of the sample sizes, Gaffney said Telephia would withhold demographic information on subscribers but noted that the popular channels provide a reliable snapshot. “It’s skewing male, towards the younger demographic or towards the businessman on the road. When you look at the top channels, it’s sports and news dominating,” she said.
Gaffney said Telephia found signs of a new market segment — parents entertaining kids with mobile video content. “I find it interesting to see the Discovery Kids and the Discovery Channel in the top ten. That’s a sign that the cell phone is being used by adults to keep children entertained,” she said.
NBC Mobile News, Comedy Central, Accuweather, CNN and E! all featured in the top 12 most watched mobile video channels.
In terms of access reach — the percentage of people who watch relative to those who had access to the channel — CNN was in the top spot with 65 percent of mobile TV users with access to CNN. The Weather Channel had the widest distribution with an access rate of 82 percent.
The Telephia study also found that total revenues for mobile content reached $86 million in Q2, a jump of 67 percent over first quarter numbers.
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