TV on cellphone screens? No thanks, say Europeans

HELSINKI Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:28am EDT

Mitsuo Nishigaki shows off his TV cellphone at a Japanese pub in Tokyo July 4, 2006. Europeans' interest in watching mobile television is as tiny as cellphone screens, a new study showed on Monday, even though the industry has been buzzing about offering TV on handsets for years. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Mitsuo Nishigaki shows off his TV cellphone at a Japanese pub in Tokyo July 4, 2006. Europeans' interest in watching mobile television is as tiny as cellphone screens, a new study showed on Monday, even though the industry has been buzzing about offering TV on handsets for years.

Credit: Reuters/Toru Hanai

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HELSINKI (Reuters) - Europeans' interest in watching mobile television is as tiny as cellphone screens, a new study showed on Monday, even though the industry has been buzzing about offering TV on handsets for years.

Mobile operators hope that mobile TV could encourage users to spend an extra 5 to 10 euros a month, compensating for declining revenues from voice calls, but mobile television and video downloads ranked close to the bottom of consumer interest in a Gartner study in Europe.

Only about 5 percent of Europeans expressed interest in watching television or video on their cellphones in the next 12 months, the study said. At the same time some 20 percent of Asians said they would watch TV on their phone screens.

"I think the main reason is the compromise you are making on the device you need to carry to watch TV -- either too big if you want a nice experience or too small and you do not have a good experience," said Carolina Milanesi, a Gartner analyst.

Also lack of consensus on business models, variety of different technologies and shortage of airwaves has been hampering takeup of mobile TV.

Because spectrum availability is not a problem in many Asian countries, commercial DVB-H broadcasts have already started in India and Vietnam, with Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia also set to open networks this year.

In Europe, three countries have started commercial networks.

Research firm Informa has projected entertainment services -- games, music, TV, adult content and gambling -- would grow to $38 billion by 2011 from around $18.8 billion in 2006.

Music has been the main driver for mobile entertainment so far, but players in the field have expected a boost from mobile television -- a conclusion thrown into doubt by the study.

(additional reporting by Sakari Suoninen)

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