Friday, January 06, 2006

Ovum: Mobile operators buy into TV channels to prepare mobile broadcast

Vincent Poulbere at Ovum looks at recent separate moves by NTT DoCoMo and 3 Italy to invest in/or acquire TV assets. Poulbere suggests that:

two moves in less than a month demonstrate a new type of strategy being developed by some mobile operators, in order to prepare their future growth plans. In both cases, the mobile operators are investing in a TV channel in order to get control over the development of digital broadcasting services to mobile phones. 3 has acquired a broadcasting licence, which had previously been allocated exclusively to broadcasters, while NTT DoCoMo can co-operate closely with the broadcaster to develop mobile broadcasting technologies and services.
He believes "that mobile operators will need to provide their mobile TV users with a wide variety of programmes, from different broadcasters. It is also in the interest of broadcasters to distribute their content to the whole mass market, and not just to the subscribers of a single operator." Poulbere points out that acquiring content is not enough, and mobile-specific content will need to be developed as well. He states:
In light of this, some mobile operators want to become true media companies, and not just distributors. That means defining an editorial line for mobile TV programmes and producing mobile-specific content. By tying up with TV channels, mobile operators are also seeking to acquire the competencies that are necessary to become true mobile media companies.
Poulbere concludes that:
Mobile broadcasting will develop at a different speed in different countries, mostly due to frequency availability issues. Also, in most countries we don't expect real mass-market availability of handsets and services before 2008. However, watch out in 2006 for more strategic moves by mobile operators in preparation for their future multimedia service offerings, based on broadcasting. In any case, a key challenge still remains: mobile operators and broadcasters have very different cultures, so any marriage will need a lot of work!