Consumers are interested in the
possibility of watching live mobile digital TV (DTV) broadcasts on their
cellphones or other portable devices, particularly for watching local news
content, according to a Magid Media Labs survey commissioned by the Open Mobile
Video Coalition (OMVC).
The OMVC, a collection of some 800
local TV stations that counts large station groups like Fox, Gannett and ION as
members, has driven the development of a new mobile DTV standard for the past
two years. That standard will be demonstrated in a range of new receiver
devices at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month.
But the group has yet to conduct a formal consumer trial of the technology, and
skeptics say it is unclear how appealing local mobile DTV broadcasts will be to
consumers amidst a variety of on-demand mobile video offerings and existing
broadcast services like Qualcomm's FloTV subscription product.
While the OMVC plans to conduct a
formal consumer trial in Washington, D.C. early next year, it commissioned the
Magid survey to give it some advance intelligence heading into the trial and to
help broadcasters consider business models for the service, says OMVC executive
director Anne Schelle.
The survey, which Magid conducted
online with 1,000 adults aged 18-59, discovered that 46% of mobile device
owners find the idea of watching live TV on a mobile device "appealing,"
with that number rising to 65% for adults 18-29, the so-called
"Millennials." When asked what the chances are that they would actually watch
live TV on their mobile device, some 36% said they definitely or probably
would, with that number rising to 48% for young adults.
47% of respondents said they would
be interested in getting a device with mobile DTV capability if they were
shopping for a new mobile device. But laptops or netbooks appear to be the more
likely place for consumers to start watching mobile DTV, with 45% of
respondents saying they would be most likely to watch live mobile DTV on a
laptop or netbook, and only 19% for smartphones and 14% for cellphones.
However, smartphone owners did prefer those devices for live mobile DTV viewing
over laptops/netbooks by a 51% to 38% margin.
The survey also seemed to support
broadcasters' contention that the type of programming they currently offer
through conventional DTV broadcasts would also be compelling on a mobile
device. When asked what type of mobile DTV content they would consume, 88% of
respondents to the Magid survey said that would watch news or weather
information, and 92% of adults 18-29 said they would do so. Overall, 59% of
respondents said they would watch local or regional news through mobile DTV,
with that number dropping to 52% for adults 18-29.
But Schelle said that 52% number
for millenials was still double the current consumption in that age group for
local TV news programs delivered through conventional means to TV sets today,
which Magid puts at 26%. She said young adults' interest in local news content
is an encouraging sign for broadcasters as they launch mobile DTV services.
"If they got it on the platform
they care about most, they would be watching it," says Schelle.