Results announced today from one of the world's first commercial mobile TV pilots in Helsinki, Finland reveal the popularity and willingness to pay for mobile TV services, underlining the potential of this exciting new mobile application. 41% of pilot participants would be willing to purchase mobile TV services and half thought that a fixed monthly fee of 10 euros was a reasonable price to pay. Over half (58%) said that they believed broadcast mobile TV services would be popular.
Digita, Elisa, MTV, Channel Four Finland (Nelonen), Nokia, TeliaSonera Finland and YLE jointly conducted the pilot in Finland between March and June 2005 with 500 users accessing mobile TV using the Nokia 7710 smartphone and DVB-H technology.
According to the pilot results, pilot participants not only wanted to watch familiar program offerings, but they would also welcome mobile TV content that is suitable for short and occasional viewing. Familiar programs available through national Finnish television channels proved to be the most popular followed by sports and news channels (CNN, BBC World, Euronews). The Ice Hockey World cup games, the San Marino and Monaco Formula One as well as the UEFA Champions League match between Liverpool and AC Milan were among the top 10 programs viewed during the pilot.
In general, mobile TV users spent approximately 20 minutes a day watching mobile TV, although more active users watched between 30 to 40 minutes per session. Participants also watched mobile TV at different times than traditional TV peak hours.
Mobile TV was most popular while travelling on public transport to relax or to keep up to date with the latest news although it also proved popular at home for entertainment and complementing participants' main TV watching.
The potential commercial benefits of mobile TV are clearly evident from this pilot with 41% willing to pay for the service. Pilot members were charged a monthly fee of 4.90 euros although half of those that took part thought 10 euros per month was a reasonable price to pay. Overall, users preferred a fixed pricing model although many were also interested in a pay per view model - i.e. buying access for specific content such as a football match or racing competition.
The pilot results also reveal the key requirements from consumers in order to use mobile TV services:
- Easy and intuitive service usability
- Good technical functionality and reliability
- Content that is also suitable for short period viewing
- Mobile phone functions must not be compromised by the TV application
"The Helsinki pilot reinforces our belief that mobile broadcast TV is a significant opportunity," said Richard Sharp, Vice President, Rich Media, Nokia. "The message for the industry is clear: for mobile TV services to succeed we need relevant and compelling content, easy-to-use technology and reasonable and simple pricing plans. With these elements in place, consumer demand for mobile TV will follow."
DVB-H technology allows television channels to be distributed effectively to mobile devices. It provides the best user experience in the mobile environment with excellent, broadcast quality picture, reduced battery consumption and wide range of channels (up to 55 channel are possible).