A plenary session on ‘Revenue Streams in a Converging World’ on the second day of Ficci-Frames 2007 saw a heated debate on the subject. Moderated by Hungama Mobile chief executive Neeraj Roy, the session had speakers in the likes of Qualcomm president for India and Saarc Kanwalinder Singh, PWC Hong Kong’s Marcel Fenez who is the APAC leader for technology, Infocomms and Entertainment, Autodesk Canada vice-president for media & entertainment Marc Petit, and Communicate 2 chief executive Vivek Bhargava.
Inaugurating the session, Roy said, “The converging world offers tremendous opportunities for creation and monetisation of content across various platforms. The same content could be adapted to conventional media like television as well as new media like the mobile, and Internet. Technology could be effectively leveraged for creation of new revenue streams, he added.
Taking on from Roy, Singh said, “We are driving the 3G market for Mobi TV to help bring about more value for the entire chain. But to do this, the first thing is getting consumer experience right. There needs to be a fast channel switching time that is 1.5 second. There is low power consumption, mix of high quality services, 15-20 video channels, multiplexed IP data casting and clip casting, and 10 audio streams. The second factor is getting economies of scale. Currently, Fox Channel, NGC, ESPN are participating in this network of broadcast. The third factor is the mobile media service, which works on a simple subscription model. Another factor is targeted advertising that provides tremendous opportunities for generating additional revue streams.”
He further spoke about how mobile integrates entertainment to lifestyle. Only top channels will be on the Mobio TV. It will convert a passive user in to an active user. The consortium will include the likes of content producers and broadcasters. The task would be to build a ‘media-flo’ network, create content relationships and manage the network. QualComm's media-flo is a proprietary air-interface technology that sits atop a telecom network, which will help in cost-effective deployment of mobile TV.
The entity should appeal to content providers and operators to bring the service to the marketplace," said Singh. QualComm has performed a similar manoeuvre before in Japan. It tied up with operators KDDI and SoftBank to set up a body that would focus on mobile TV. However, their set up in the US was spun off into a separate entity as the market demanded it. The firm expects the consortium to help it get a say in spectrum allocation. Mobile TV will be commercially unleashed in India in the next two years.
"In India, entertainment and content creation is a big thing. Receptivity for the mobile TV concept is high. And when consumers see the technology physically work on a handset and view it, they are blown away by the experience of switching channels," said Singh.
He also spoke about clip-casting. Clip-casting is network scheduled delivery of programmed data. MediaFlo technology is a global mobile entertainment platform, enabling broadcasting of high-quality video streams, audio-only streams, Clip-casting media and IP data-casting to mobile handsets. The MediaFlo service would be able to support between 15 and 20 television channels streaming real-time and as many as 80 channels of content periodically downloaded and cached to the handset. The clip-casting service would periodically fire off clips on subjects the user selects ahead of time, often taking advantage of network lulls in the middle of the night to deliver the video, and that Clipcast channels may prove more useful to mobile users than some of the real-time channels, since they will offer brief updates that don't require extended viewing.
Fenez spoke about the new media of lifestyle that we live in. Lifestyle media will allow beneficial interaction between consumers, content owners, service providers and networks. He also elaborated on what’s next for lifestyle media? First is monetising social networks. MySpace is five times more popular. There should be a two-way transparency by working towards across the value chain. The third factor is measurement and accountability. It is how to measure effectiveness of media across different media and the last factor influencing is rise of lifestyle advertising is the conversation between consumer and advertiser is the key thing.
Roy said, “Convergence is all about mobile, the Internet, broadband, cable on demand. India is the fourth largest mobile market in the world and the fastest growing one too. By 2010 the mobile telephony industry projects are 500 million users in India, and 350 million phones by 2008. Content is being transcoded in to different format and sizes. Mobile entertainment in the US is projected to be $42 billion by the end of this decade.