Telegent calls for mobile operators to back free-to-air mobile TV

Mobile TV needs the free-to-air model if it is to survive, said the head of Telegent.

Weijie Yun, CEO of Telegent, which makes television mobile, said last week media reported the pending shutdown of Germany-based Mobile 3.0’s subscription mobile TV services. Mobile 3.0’s lack of consumer traction was attributed to lack of cooperation by German operators, who introduced free-to-air mobile TV handsets after losing the DVB-H license, and it is the second unsuccessful attempt to establish subscription broadcast mobile TV in Germany.

Yun commented: “Despite the lack of consumer traction for subscription mobile TV services, there is no question that mobile TV technology works, or that consumers like to watch TV on their handset.

“The key to success for mobile TV is to first understand what consumers want, and in this respect, content is king. Consumers are open to place shifting television, provided that the content that they are familiar with and already enjoy stays the same and is accessible at the times that they are accustomed to viewing it. Free-to-air mobile TV enables operators to have access to the most popular content, which then provides a platform for the delivery of value-added services.”

Yun notes that free-to-air mobile TV can be complementary to long term goals of pay TV services. “New consumers of mobile TV might initially choose a free-to-air mobile TV feature over a subscription service. However, the rate of consumer adoption will be much faster, opening opportunities to upsell premium content to a broader audience already accustomed to watching TV on their handset.

By offering a free-to-air service, operators also have the opportunity to leverage the service for branding and differentiation and improve their competitive position in the marketplace.

“Free-to-air mobile TV may serve as the route to spur widespread adoption of mobile TV; pay TV services can then follow,” added Yun.