54 million free to air analog mobile TV users worldwide in 2009

Telegent Systems, the company that makes television mobile, and independent market research and consultancy firm In-Stat, have predicted a worldwide user base of 54 million consumers in 2009, signalling the arrival of mobile TV in the global mass market.

The white paper, Analog Mobile TV: The World’s Most Widely Available Option for Mobile TV, predicts six times growth to 300 million users by 2013, and highlights common global mobile TV usage trends revealed by primary research conducted by Telegent in Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and Turkey.

“The adoption of analog mobile TV handsets has been driven by the most powerful force in the mobile industry; consumers,” said Frank Dickson, vice president of research at In-Stat. “Analog mobile TV has two very fundamental and compelling advantages, cost and availability. The infrastructure is already in place, there are no new standards that need to be enacted and the service is free to consumers, a very powerful combination.”

More than half of free to air analog mobile TV consumers surveyed reported watching mobile TV at least three times a week, with 20% of respondents in all regions watching daily. In some geographies, 40% or more watched daily.

Approximately two thirds of respondents reported viewing mobile TV for thirty minutes or more on the days that they watched TV, dispelling the notion that it will ultimately be a vehicle for ‘TV snacking’ when away from home.

While news and sports were popular among mobile TV viewers, most favoured a mix of program types. Popular use cases for watching mobile TV included while in transit, while at home and during breaks at work. In Indonesia, where traffic is notoriously bad, the in-transit use case predominated.

Global mobile TV adoption is being led by consumers in developing markets with mobile TV typically offered as a free feature in low cost and mid tier handsets. This approach provides consumers with mobile access to the same live programming that they view on conventional television sets, delivering a truly converged device experience.

More than 85% of the world’s population will continue to have access to analog signals for the next several years or longer. In-Stat expects free to air analog mobile TV to do well in countries which have not yet formulated plans for digital TV, or if they have, in countries where analog will remain for more than five years. In-Stat also observes that there are large numbers of consumers living in geographies where the average subscriber doesn’t have the resources to pay for subscription-based mobile TV or for the data services that support over the top video.

“In-Stat’s research findings help to validate our statement to the marketplace that analog mobile TV is a very compelling content offering to a wireless operator’s subscriber base and to consumers,” said Telegent CEO, Weijie Yun. “The success of free to air mobile TV is the result of two primary drivers, one is the fact that the content that consumers view is the same broadcast as what they watch on conventional TV, and the other is the universal coverage enabling consumers to watch it in almost every corner around the world.”