Mobile TV business model needs overhaul

CNBC Arabia boss calls for new revenue deals to boost uptake

Tags: United Arab Emirates
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By  George Bevir Published  June 10, 2009

Mobile television will not flourish until “reluctant” telecom operators agree to a more equitable revenue split with content providers, according to the CEO of one of the region’s most prominent broadcasters.

Mobile TV is still in its infancy in the Middle East, and the boss of CNBC Arabia says that in order for it to really take off the current business model needs to be overhauled.

CNBC Arabia CEO Steven Hall told CommsMEA that the deals in place at the moment fail to give content providers enough of an incentive to create content specifically for mobile devices.

“You can have the best delivery system in the world with the most sophisticated capabilities, but without rich content, users and viewers won’t take it up,” he said.

“For the content providers to put in the effort and the investment into this, we’ll need to find a model with the telcos that we can all benefit from.

“The operators are reluctant to give up existing revenue streams,” Hall said, adding that he feels it is up to content providers to help convince telecom operators that “rich and tailored content” will lead to better revenue streams.

CNBC Arabia offers text alerts on market information to customers in Saudi Arabia, and the channel is also streamed to Etisalat and Qtel customers who sign up for the operators’ mobile TV packages.

Hall says there are plans to expand upon CNBC Arabia’s text service within the next three months with an expanded range of offerings across SMS, MMS, catch-up services and 3G services.

“We need to start afresh…when we genuinely come together to find a new model then we will all succeed at this,” Hall added.

3493 days ago
Ronald Czachara

TV and radio have been typical one-way mediums for ages. Even the options to call-in did not change this a lot. Now, with the possibilities of SMS and MMS for the first time really there is something like interactive TV. There are services like voting, polling, get more information, information services and reminders for my favorite show. I find the combination of two established technologies so convenient for the user even without inventing something completely new. Ronald Czachara

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