Olympics gets Gold with US mobile TV viewers

A report from Neilson has shown that NBC’s coverage of the Olympic opening ceremony was watched on a mobile device by 436,000 AT&T mobile customers, with a total of 858,000 tuning in on the opening day of the games from a mobile device.

With the announcement of these statistics, QuickPlay Media, the provider of mobile video solutions, is urging the mobile industry to build this mobile TV momentum beyond the Olympic Games.

Despite wide scale adoption of 3G capable mobile devices in the European market, consumer usage of mobile TV and video services remains low, said QuickPlay. These low adoption rates are illustrated by the results of a recent UK survey by QuickPlay, in which 44% of mobile phone owners indicated that they were not aware of mobile TV or video services being available to them.

Of those that were aware, 33% indicated high cost as a key barrier to using the service. However, as the AT&T experience demonstrates, if a mobile operator offers content that is of high interest to its customers, prices it attractively and then promotes this effectively, service adoption will visibly rise.

In drawing content from the Olympic Games, AT&T used a global brand recognised by millions, and provided compelling, entertaining content to attract a mainstream audience. The mobile industry must now follow this example and continue to work with big brands and global events to ensure that mobile content appeals to and is marketed at mainstream consumers.

With AT&T’s Olympic TV service, which is available to all customers on a bundled mobile TV package, users are made aware of the costs they are paying for upfront and what content they can access. As bundled packages enable a one off monthly payment by the consumer, they provide a very transparent billing method which enables the user to access mobile TV or video services safe in the knowledge there will be no additional surprise costs on their monthly bill.

In Europe, these bundled data packages are becoming a common element of post-paid mobile contracts, but with an estimated 60% of owners on pre-pay tariffs, billing for mobile TV services is still unclear for most customers, QuickPlay commented.

Coupled with horror stories of enormous data bills, many are cautious and inclined to stay clear of mobile content services. Operators must therefore be smarter and transparent with billing to ensure customers feel ‘safe’ when using these services but also educate on what users can and can’t get within their packages, the business said.

In addition to bundled services, much has been made of the potential for ad-funded content to supplement saturated revenue streams and increase mobile TV adoption. Research from QuickPlay indicates that the consumer market is ready for ad-funded content if they receive a benefit in return, with 78% of mobile phone owners prepared to watch targeted advertisements for access to reduced rate video content on mobile.

It has been established that a great percentage of mobile video is consumed on an ad-hoc basis when filling dead time. To encourage potential users to snack on content, operators can use advertisements to offset the cost of viewing that content, a factor which can encourage consumer adoption, continued QuickPlay.