Price the Barrier to Mobile Video Adoption

Mobile video viewing has continued to grow at a healthy rate. However subscription-based "mobile TV" has not. As we've argued here numerous times, people are generally going to be unwilling to pay an additional monthly subscription -- especially in a recession -- for access to mobile TV programming. Sports and adult are two exceptions potentially.

Speaking of the former category, US broadcasting network CBS is streaming all of the NCAA college basketball championship games on its iPhone app. A WiFi connection is required for the video, only audio is available on the AT&T 3G network. The app costs $4.99 but that provides access to video of all the games.

CBS iPhone app

I don't know the precise download figures but the app is at the top of the paid list in the iTunes store.

There's no question that there will be more and more video on mobile handsets. But what business model will take hold? There probably won't be only one. A new study from QuickPlay Media, however, confirms that price is a big barrier to mobile TV and video adoption.

The following charts reflect some of the findings from the online survey (n=1,000 US mobile subscribers):

58% of respondents have not tried mobile TV/video:

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55% of non-users at least "somewhat interested":

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Price/perceived cost an inhibiting factor (also device inadequacy):

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Video might be used to upsell mobile customers to next pricing tier:

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Upgrade to smartphone would potentially translate into more adoption:

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Exposure to advertising on current device:

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 Users open to advertising to gain free access to mobile TV/video:

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In contrast to some recent studies that suggest high levels of user hostility to mobile advertising, this last chart reflects that users are willing to trade their attention for subsidized access to content.