Korea and Japan dominate mobile TV market

Korea and Japan dominate mobile TV market

'Wake up to TV 2.0', operators and broadcasters warned

Early adopters in Asia dominate the global market for mobile TV services, according to new research.

Almost 78 per cent of the global mobile TV audience, some 38 million viewers, is located in just two countries - South Korea and Japan - research firm Berg Insight reports.

The rise of mobile TV has been driven by the integration of TV reception capabilities into mobile phones.

"We believe that regular mobile networks will remain the dominant carrier for mobile video, at least for the next couple of years," said Sabine Ehlers, an associate analyst at Berg Insight.

The analyst anticipates that the number of mobile TV viewers, currently estimated at around 50 million worldwide, will exceed 100 million by 2010, and approach 150 million by 2012.

Mobile TV uptake in much of the world has been slow so far, mainly owing to the expense.

"The significant costs involved in establishing the infrastructure needed for dedicated mobile broadcast networks is expected to hold back large-scale launches in the greater part of Europe for a few more years," said Ehlers.

Uptake in South Korea has been particularly fast because the terrestrial broadcast T-DMB service is provided free of charge.

However, Ehlers noted that mobile TV in South Korea is not yet making money for operators despite one million viewers paying for satellite-delivered S-DMB services.

Service providers need to understand the new medium, according to the analyst, who warned against operators and broadcasters seeing mobile TV as merely television on a mobile terminal.

"Services based on simply regurgitated TV content will merely be TV on a small and inconvenient screen," Ehlers said.