Consumers more excited by GPS than mobile TV

Not getting lost more important than Lost

Mobile TV is getting a lukewarm reception among consumers, with more mobile users expressing an interest in getting their phone kitted out with GPS technology.

According to Canalys' new consumer mobility survey, some 51 per cent of those surveyed in Europe said they were interested in mobile TV - as long as there was a diverse range of content available. This leaves almost half of those surveyed with no interest in the service, regardless of its cost.

This goes against recent research carried out by Screen Digest, which predicted that mobile TV would outstrip rival services in terms of revenue generation. That report claimed mobile TV is set to generate €4.7bn in revenue from 140 million subscribers by 2011, despite the fact the service is currently only available in a handful of markets.

Back to the Canalys report - of those interested in mobile TV, 29 per cent said they would opt to tune in to live sports events or reality shows. Almost a quarter of respondents expressed an interest in content relating to hobbies or personal interests that they could not get at home, and a similar proportion were keen in having access to exactly the same channels as they had at home.

"When asked what types of mobile TV programming they would be interested in, consumers' preferences are quite diverse, and there is unlikely to be one type of killer content," said analyst Adrian Drozd. "This suggests many different content partnerships and charging models may be required, which will add complexity for users and for the operators developing such services."

Meanwhile, some 62 per cent of mobile users said built-in satellite navigation would be a useful addition to their mobile phones. "Consumers are much more excited by the prospect of having GPS on the handset than mobile TV," said Pete Cunningham, senior analyst at Canalys.

"For advertising-supported services, the survey showed higher interest around vehicle and pedestrian navigation, mobile e-mail and IM than for TV. It shouldn't come as a great surprise that mobile propositions with location or communication at their core resonate the strongest with consumers."

Canalys' research also revealed that Apple is gaining popularity as a phone provider, with close to half of iPod owners surveyed saying they would consider buying the iPhone as their next handset.

Nokia is still the leading mobile phone choice however, with 84 per cent of survey respondents saying they were more likely than not to consider buying the brand. This was followed by Sony Ericsson, Samsung and Motorola.

Apple ranked in the middle of the table, above smart mobile device manufacturers like RIM, HP and Palm.

"Apple's rating improves dramatically when you talk to existing iPod owners," said Cunningham. "Almost half the respondents who owned an iPod rated Apple as more likely than not be considered for their next phone, compared to just 20 per cent for those who didn't have an iPod, and they were five times as likely to give Apple the highest rating. There is a lot of loyalty there that Apple can tap into."

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