A broad market for video on cellular handsets has yet to appear despite being heavily hyped, first in Europe with the launch of UMTS networks and more recently in the US by Verizon Wireless. A new report by Jupiter Research show why: it’s only because the price is too high, the coverage too weak, and the content too poor. Other than that, demand is high.
JupiterResearch…announced in its newly released report, “Video on Cell Phones: It’s Real in 2005, but a Paying Consumer Audience Isn’t”, that 44% of online consumers surveyed by JupiterResearch are interested in viewing video on their cell phones for free, but only 19% indicate they would be willing to pay anything for those services.
“Although consumer interest in mobile video is strong, the cell phone will remain a voice-centric device in the near term,” stated Julie Ask, research director at JupiterResearch.
I repeat my oft-heard admonition to the cellular carriers: “If we build it they will come” is not a viable marketing or business strategy. Use your spectrum to provide higher quality and more reliable voice services and you will own the business in the markets in which you compete. The broad majority of your customers don’t use even simple data services; there is no compelling reason to believe that they will adopt sophisticated data services in the foreseeable future.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t continue to let your product guys come up with nifty new gadgets and services. But you shouldn’t let their dreams of a wireless utopia drive your capital decisions.