Watching TV on a mobile phone or handheld hasn’t exactly taken the world by storm, but market research firm Gartner predicts that it will become a mainstream service in most developed markets by 2010, with close to half a billion subscribers worldwide.
TV programs delivered over cellular-wireless networks will grow from 38 million users in 2007 to 356 million in 2010.
Gartner also predicts that TV broadcasting to mobile devices will reach 133 million subscribers by 2010 — due mainly to the growing availability of broadcast-enabled phones — with Japan leading the way, followed by Western Europe.
Growth, But Not Much Demand
To-date consumers have, in general, remained ambivalent about watching TV on the move, and although the uptake of mobile TV services will grow at a considerable rate over the next few years, most subscribers will receive the service as part of their mobile subscription.
“Uptake will not be driven by consumer demand so much as by operators including TV in basic bundles as a default service so that it appears ‘free’,” said Carolina Milanesi, research director at Gartner.
Her company estimates that only 30 percent of the total number of mobile TV subscribers will ask for the service, while 70 percent will receive it as part of their service bundle.
More on Gartner’s mobile TV predictions can be found on its web site.