TV on mobile devices could have 300 million viewers by 2013

A recent market-research study predicts that the number of people in the world who consume TV on mobile devices could reach 300 million by 2013. TV on mobiles is a steadily growing market, expected to reach 54 million users by the end of this year.

In some areas, more than 40 per cent watched daily, the study found. While news and sports were popular among mobile TV viewers, most favoured a mix of programme types. The study found most viewers tuned in while travelling, at home and during breaks at work.

When I first heard these numbers, it sounded like an optimistic forecast. On reflection, I definitely am increasingly noticing people watching video content on their mobile devices. On tubes and trains in and around London, looking over people's shoulders as one sometimes must, I can even tell you what people are watching, In every case so far, without exception, fictional American TV series seem to be what my fellow commuters are catching-up on. Wearing headphones, they stare at shiny screens, on which attractive young male and female actors contrive daft set-piece scenes. The theme of every episode seems to involve pretty girls and tough-guys with guns.

Admittedly I don't personally enjoy fiction, but I'd happily watch a documentary programme on the train, e.g. on a Windows Mobile phone, or a Zune HD. Even on my oldest Sony Ericson mobile phone, I can watch videos on YouTube. It doesn't support Flash, but YouTube performs server-side platform detection and decides how best to surface the content -- in this case simply a raw MP4 stream, a format which any phone with basic video capabilities should be able to play. Perhaps YouTube doesn't count as TV, but there's plenty of TV content on there, as well as music, besides all the random UGC.

25 August 2009

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