Slow Adoption for Mobile Video

Half the subscribers to mobile video services don’t watch video according to “How People Use Mobile Video,” a study released by Knowledge Networks. Instead, the laptop emerges as the most-used device on which to watch mobile video.

Mobile video available through cell phone subscriptions and other mobile devices such as the iPod have fewer active users than the installed base. Fifty percent of subscribers to cell phone services like Verizon’s VCast don’t access the video content. Thirty percent of iPod Video owners use the device for uses other than video.

“The video is a nice addition [to a mobile subscription], people like having the most technically advanced cell phone,” said Dave Tice, VP of client service at Knowledge Networks. “They may be signing up for something that makes them look cool for now.”

Subscribers may not use the service in the immediate term, Tice said.

The study finds 88 percent of respondents who download video content would seek out ad-supported video if it were free. Eighty-nine percent of those who watch live, streaming video would watch content that includes commercials if they weren’t charged. Previous studies show both support and opposition to ad-supported video on any platform.

Commercial content might work in PC-viewed video, though Tice said it might be some time before there’s a sustainable business model for fully ad-supported video on mobile phones. “The population user base isn’t tremendously large. I’m not sure they could offset [the cost] doing this business by advertising,” he said. “As these devices are adopted by more people, there’s more of an opportunity.”

Laptops are the portable device of choice for viewing video. “Up to 90 percent of people who use laptops were watching video,” said Tice. Over 80 percent of those people watch video on laptops at home, though the same group may watch video elsewhere.

Video content is consumed on many devices in the home, and those who access video on their cell phones often watch at home. “One of the benefits of video on cell phones, people carry them around all the time, it allows for spontaneous viewing,” said Tice.

The study is a component of “The Home Technology Monitor” series from Knowledge Networks. The particular subset of data comes from a survey of about 2,400 participants between ages 13 and 54 in homes with broadband access. Further data and insight were derived from a series of interviews with both mobile video users and those who don’t view mobile video.

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