MobiTV, the lone mobile television provider in business since 1999, announced that its subscriber-base has reached 6 million on very strong recent growth. In Barcelona, the company also announced some changes to the way it will deliver mobile programming, and the fact that it’s being used on 20 major carriers worldwide these days.
MobiTV’s service was originally based on “unicast” technology, which meant that each subscriber received a unique signal with his or her chosen programming. While unicasting provides high-value mobile advertising opportunities, that method can be expensive and unwieldy. Instead, the service will move to a new “optimized delivery server,” a hybrid model that combines unicasting and multicasting depending on how many subscribers in the same area are watching the same show.
The new delivery method should strengthen the quality of programming, but will take away from the effectiveness and “direct-targeting” of the advertising that has monetized the service and kept the company running for so long. Undoubtedly, the company will come up with new strategies, but advertising isn’t the only thing MobiTV should be worried about.
With the upcoming digital transition that’s taking place, MobiTV will most likely have to completely re-think its strategy. First of all, no subscriber will pay the $10 monthly fee to watch select mobile programming, when most local and national channels will be broadcasting in full glory with no fees. Also, advertisers will go directly to the source instead of dealing services like MobiTV, who are really just mobile television “middlemen.”
We’ll have to see how MobiTV reacts to the digital switch, and whether or not it has what it takes to survive. Either way, they’ve got a while before mobile television becomes so prolific that it gives MobiTV something to really worry about.