Mobile Television Market Needs a Makeover, Says Siano Chief

On Wednesday, the chief executive of Siano Mobile Silicon Ltd., an Israel-based maker of TV chips for mobile devices, spoke with Bloomberg about his company’s burgeoning opportunities in the United States.

Siano, it seems, is moving toward an initial public offering sometime next year. The prominent manufacturer of chips that allow mobile devices to receive digital TV signals has CEO Alon Ironi giving ample consideration to the potential of mobile television – an industry the company head believes is in need of an image makeover.

“We need to see the creation of a positive perception of the mobile-TV market in the eyes of the financial community,” Ironi tells Bloomberg. “It’s almost a condition for going public. Right now, if you talk to an average analyst, all they know about mobile TV is it failed.”

The global market for mobile-TV receiver chips may reach 159.4 million units in 2015, up from 99 million chips this year, according to research firm Forward Concepts Co. While Asia currently leads in mobile-TV adoption, success in the U.S. is key for holding an IPO here, Ironi said.

Despite the exponential growth of mobile across a wide range of industries in recent years, fewer than 25 million Americans watch video on mobile devices today, IE Market Research Corp says.

One of the biggest indicators of the industry’s struggle came when Qualcomm’s subscription-based Flo service was closed earlier this year.

What remains to be seen is if and how Siano “can succeed in a market where Qualcomm failed.” That’s according to Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts. “I am a skeptic,” Strauss told Bloomberg this week. “Qualcomm got out of it — it may be a clue.”

Do you share in the skepticism or is it only a matter of time before mobile-TV gets the “makeover” it needs to become as dominant as other forms of mobile communication and entertainment?