Mobile TV Heads Project Hybrid Business Model

By March 25, 2009

A panel of mobile executives predicted business models in "The Mobile Platform 2.0: Establishing the Personalized Video, Music, and Communications Experience" at Media Summit in New York. Mobile division heads from major media brands including NBC Universal, Disney and MTV Networks are enthusiastic to spread content across all possible digital platforms. But they also want to get paid through upfront fees as well as advertising revenue against mobile programming. "NBC is a place where we make money from distribution partners and advertisers," said Chip Canter, vice president, wireless platform development at NBC Universal Digital Distribution in MediaPost on Thursday. "What we're trying to do is drive dual-revenue stream models: fees for distribution and supplement that with advertising."

NBC has a deal with mobile broadcast service MediaFLO USA to distribute "The Office" and other network shows through Verizon Wireless and AT&T subscription-based mobile video services.

In these early days of mobile advertising, mobile executives prize subscription revenue. Disney is offering only ad-supported cable programming on mobile, not free service when it charges a licensing fee to cable operators for the same content. Tim Connolly, vice president for mobile distribution at ABC, Disney and ESPN Media Networks, seems to believe that once there is better ad infrastructure, there is a possibility of more free content.

A hybrid subscription-advertising business model can provide necessary revenue. Apple devices iPhone and iPod Touch have created a third revenue stream via iTunes and App store content sales. In addition to the single charge system, the new App store will allow developers to charge subscriptions for program use.

Smartphones at large are the reason for much positive projection for mobile content, of course. Panel members see the intersection of mobile video and social networking - video sharing - to be a driving force in the development of mobile content viability.

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