This year's FIFA World Cup is set to kick start a boom in mobile TV subscriptions, according to a report by analyst group Informa Telecoms & Media.
The study, entitled Mobile TV: Broadcast and Mobile Multimedia, has estimated that by 2011 there will be 210 million subscribers to mobile TV.
"This year's World Cup will prove a major catalyst for mobile TV growth. It will give operators a chance to show what they can already do and test consumer demand," said David McQueen, senior analyst and report author for Informa Telecoms & Media.
Mobile TV will ultimately owe its success to the type and format of content that is made available. Trials are currently underway by BT Movio in the UK and BSkyB and Qualcomm in Europe, to discover the best type of content for mobile and short-mode use.
According to Informa two formats are proving most popular. The first being 'mobisodes', which uses custom 'made-for-mobile' episodes of hit TV shows, such as '24'; and the second is "simulcast" which involves transmitting the same programming users are familiar with from traditional television in real-time or alongside the TV broadcast. The 2006 Fifa World Cup is expected to be shown in both formats.
However, McQueen claims the real growth will take place over the next five
years. "As soon as the 2008 Olympics we'll all be much more prepared to watch TV
on our phones and by the 2010 World Cup the infrastructure will be
mature and one in thirteen mobile phone users worldwide will own a mobile TV handset," he said.
The report claimed that mobile TV will be adopted at different rates in different regions. Asia-Pacific will lead the way with 95.1 million anticipated subscribers by 2011, followed by Europe with 68.7 million subscribers and The Americas with 9.1 million.
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