MAD Perspectives Blog

 Why Mobile is So Important to the Future of TV

Peggy Dau - Tuesday, March 19, 2013

There has been a lot of discussion about the impact of mobile devices on the TV business model. This is not just hype, it is based in facts about how we, the mass public, consume content. Multi-platform consumption is the new normal. Where just a few years ago, media properties were focused on their internet and mobile web presence they are now investing in the development of mobile apps. Content is viewed and, if compelling enough, shared via social networks. Consumers are demanding content that is aggregated and pushed to them based on their personal interests.

This shift in consumption has arisen thanks to  three factors.


More than 50% of U.S mobile consumers now own a smartphone. According to DigiTimes, tablet shipments will surpass Notebook shipments in 2013. For the TV industry this is notable as tablet users having a higher propensity to engage in more involved media behaviors, such as visits to photo and video sharing sites or watching long form video.


Content distribution, be it across the internet or mobile networks, has always been limited by bandwidth. The increasing availability of WiFi has eased the burden on wireless networks, enabling consumers to access social networks, games, email and video on the go.  while the performance of these networks continues to improve thanks to 4G and LTE technology.  The Cisco Visual Networking Index indicates that mobile video traffic exceeded 50% of all mobile traffic in 2012. More importantly, by 2017 2/3 of the world's mobile data traffic will be video.


According to a Compuware Study, 85% of users prefer mobile apps over mobile websites.  Why? Because, they believe that apps are more convenient, faster and provide a better user experience. For media properties, the dilemma is more complex. They must balance development costs (different apps for each device operating system), support costs, potential revenue share versus user experience and performance. Any smartphone or tablet user can access a mobile website, while apps must be downloaded. This raises the possibility that users who make the effort to download apps are actually more invested in the content provided by the app. However, if that app does not meet performance or content expectations, 48% of users will abandon the app.


If you are a media property, your strategy must include mobile. Media companies can expand their reach by 29% through their use of mobile channels. It offers additional advertising revenue opportunities. It increases consumer engagement. Yet, even as mobile is currently drawing attention as a consumption channel, it also has the power to capture and distribute content. In an age of increasing user generated content, the smartphone has the ability to become our eye on the world. It is cost effective and easy to use. The constantly improving mobile network allows us to share any kind of video content, on the fly. Our quality expectations have adapted based on our understanding of where the content originated. So, even as the the TV industry focuses on HD, user generated content via mobile devices may indeed be the future.

What's your perspective?