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More than three-quarters (78%) of American consumers expect that the use of mobile TV and video will increase by 2010, but the majority of US consumers do not currently view it because they believe it is too expensive, according to a study from QuickPlay Media.

The 2009 independent Market Tools survey found that the number of people watching TV and video content on their mobile device has remained steady from 2008 to 2009 at 35%. Among the 65% who have not viewed TV and video on their mobile phone, 58% cite perceived cost as the number one reason they have not and the biggest barrier to widespread adoption:

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Interest in Mobile TV/Video Growing

Looking ahead, the survey revealed a significant level of interest in mobile TV and video and that overall awareness is on the rise:

  • 55% of respondents say they are interested to some degree in mobile TV and video:

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  • Nearly half (46%) are aware that their carrier offers a mobile TV and/or video service. This is up from 35% in 2008. This change provides a strong indication that video services are benefiting from the extensive marketing efforts around multimedia-enabled devices such as the iPhone and Blackberry Storm, QuickPlay said.

The survey also delves into the role that multimedia-enabled phones will play in the growing adoption of mobile TV and video services. It found that while slightly less than a quarter of consumers are using a multimedia-enabled phone (24%), these devices will play a critical role in enticing consumers to watch TV and video on their mobile phone:

  • 38% say that if they were considering changing wireless carriers, their ability to offer the latest multimedia-enabled PDA/smart phone would impact their decision to choose that carrier.
  • 41% of respondents say they would be more likely to watch TV and videos on their phone if they owned a multi-media-enabled PDA/smart phone.

Better Plans Could Spur Adoption

The survey also found that improvements to mobile phone plans could stimulate adoption of mobile video. Currently, most consumers have monthly voice and data plans. These plans have the potential to gain more traction, with 48% of respondents saying they would be more likely to subscribe to such a plan if a set amount of basic video content was included in the package (i.e. free comedy clips, movie trailers).

The survey also found that customers paying for content remains the dominant model, with the majority (72%) of those currently viewing mobile TV and video content indicating that they pay for it. This finding is consistent with research from IDC, which predicts that in 2009, paying viewers will make up 80% of all mobile TV/video consumers. The survey also found that consumers are willing to tap into alternative ad-supported models in exchange for free access to mobile TV and video content:

  • 49% of respondents have a monthly voice and data plan through their wireless carrier, vs. 38% who currently use a monthly voice-only plan.
  • 51% say they would be willing to accept advertising in return for free TV and video content (vs. 54% in 2008):

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Mobile Video Home Use Growing

Video viewing habits have seen a noticeable shift in terms of where consumers are watching mobile content, the study finds.? Some 30% of consumers are watching TV and video on their mobile device when at home (vs. 11% who watched at home in 2008). This trend, according to QuickPlay, demonstrates that the mobile phone is beginning to gain status alongside other in-home options such as the TV and the computer.

Consumers also continue to show a preference for “snacking” on content instead of setting aside dedicated viewing times, QuickPlay said.

  • 25% view content in between daily activities, 16% while in transit (i.e. on the bus, etc.) and 11% while waiting in line.
  • 66% say they would consider the ability to pause and resume content a deciding factor in whether or not they would watch longer forms of content, such as a full-length movie. This is an increase over 57% in 2008 survey.
  • Of those watching mobile TV and video, 45% have spent 11 to 30 minutes watching a TV show or movie on their mobile phone, and 30% have spent 31 minutes or longer doing so. Additionally, 21% are using mobile TV and video services more than once a week.

“With the growing adoption of media-friendly mobile devices, consumers now have a wide variety of viewing options,” said Scott Ellison, VP, mobile consumer services at IDC. “What we have seen is that these alternative channels such as online and mobile TV are not reducing traditional TV viewing but rather spurring consumers to spend additional time viewing content. As a result, the arrival of these new options will ultimately drive an increase in both total television viewing and audience size.”

Additional survey findings:

  • Nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents have not viewed an ad on a mobile phone, vs. 83% in 2008. This finding suggests that mobile ad penetration on is on the rise and/or peoples’ ability to recall ads viewed on mobile is stronger.
  • 51% of respondents predicted that Barack Obama’s use of mobile technology during his presidential campaign would carry over into his tenure as President.

“In 2008, we saw our customers introduce innovative pricing options designed to connect consumers with high-interest premium content and increase their marketing efforts, said Wayne Purboo, president and CEO, QuickPlay Media. “Looking ahead, we expect to see wireless carriers continue on this path as they work to grow adoption and the associated revenues of mobile entertainment services.”

About the survey: The second annual survey, which was conducted by Market Tools, included responses from approximately 1,000 US-based mobile subscribers between ages 18 and 35.

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