Video may have killed the radio star… at least that was the feeling back in the 1980s when MTV launched (with the video for “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles). That is back when MTV used to actually play music videos. But rather than rant about the downfall of MTV, I’ll get back to the original point.
Video may have killed the radio star, but the technology is still struggling to make much of an impact on the third screen. But 2009 could be the year that video breaks out on mobile devices. Research firm TDG has found that recent spikes in mobile video consumption are creating opportunities for service providers to offer an integrated three-screen video service. Yet, most operators aren’t really talking about this yet.
“This is the trifecta of video services,” notes Michael Greeson, president and principal analyst at TDG. “Though very few have the assets and acumen to pull it off, rest assured every major cable, satellite, and mobile operator is actively pursuing a three-screen strategy. As our new research suggests, they’d be crazy not to.”
What TDG adds is that at present consumers looking to watch TV on the go pretty much need to sign up with multiple service providers. So if you want to watch TV on TV you need cable or satellite – unless you are one of those holding up the analog TV conversion – and if you watch TV on a computer you likely have an ISP. And finally you need a mobile phone carrier to watch TV on your handset. Of course what TDG neglects is that some providers are actually providing all three.
In New York City it is quite possible to have Verizon landline, mobile phone, TV and Internet. This reporter can say that he has Verizon landline, FIOS for the Internet and of course Verizon Mobile. I’ve so far opted out of FIOS TV only because if FIOS goes down I can still watch TV through the cable, and if the cable goes down I still have the Internet. Consider that my way of hedging bets that I might actually be left without a screen to view.
But it is also worth noting that TDG is predicting that operators will likely integrate and thus bundle these services. This could mean one price and one point of customer contact, and most importantly one integrated electronic program guide. That could be enough for me to take another look at FIOS TV, especially if it means I get more channels at a better price.
Some key findings of the TDG report on the video on the third screen:
- Approximately one-fourth of adult broadband users in the U.S. (approximately 35 million) are (to varying degrees) likely to sign up for a three-screen video service at some price between $65 and $105 per month.
- More than half of Three-Screen Intenders are between the ages of 25 and 44, though Intenders between the ages of 18 and 24 are significantly more enthusiastic.
- The three-screen concept is not as far ahead of the mainstream temperament as many think. A sizable portion of Early Mainstream consumers are poised to embrace a three-screen video offering, not just Early Adopters.
- Three-Screen Intenders are 21 percent more likely than Non-Intenders to use a game console, twice as likely to use an iPhone, and twice as likely to have a TV connected to their home network.
- 92 percent of Intenders view online video on a weekly basis, compared with 78 percent of Non-Intenders.
- Cable operators are preferred as a three-screen provider almost two-to-one over satellite TV providers.
- Real-time weather, news, and sports programming (both local and national) are among the content types most favored for three-screen video service.
The findings are interesting and video adoption on the third-screen will be something I’ll be watching for closely in 2009. And as with games and music, video has the potential to convince consumers and business users alike that the mobile handset has potential to be much more than just a device for talking and texting.