Worldwide annual consumer spending on mobile broadcast TV services is expected to exceed $6.6bn by 2012, according to a new report from Juniper Research.
The analyst firm predicts that nearly 120 million mobile users in more than 40 countries will receive broadcast TV services by 2012, compared to fewer than 12 million in 2007, and that DVB-H will be the dominant transmission standard.
However, the report warned that service providers face significant technological and regulatory hurdles if they are to successfully build a critical mass of subscribers.
Many commentators consider mobile TV to be something of a failed technology in a market which is immature and fragmented.
"The 'quasi-mandation' of DVB-H by the European Commission is a huge boost to that standard," said Dr Windsor Holden, author of the Juniper Research report.
"But it creates uncertainty in the minds of those who might regard other technologies as more cost effective, and might ultimately be counterproductive as a measure to promote mobile TV."
The report also stressed the need for regulators to make relevant parts of the radio spectrum available as soon as possible, and for vendors to ensure that broadcast TV chipsets are rapidly introduced into mass market handsets to facilitate adoption.
"The key to the take-up of services such as SMS and cameraphones was their ubiquity. Everyone can send an SMS, and most people can now take a picture with their handset," said Dr Holden.
"If companies are serious about achieving widespread adoption of mobile TV, it is essential for chipsets to filter down very rapidly from top-of-the-range handsets into the mass market models so that everyone has the opportunity at least to sample mobile TV services."
The US will be the largest single market for mobile broadcast TV services in 2012, according to the report, followed by Japan and Italy.
The majority of revenue is expected to come from subscriptions and pay-per-view services. Advertising will add an increasing, but still supplementary, revenue stream for providers.
Juniper Research report: Mobile TV The Opportunity for Streamed & Broadcast Services 2007-2012
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