Feeds

Virgin pulls the plug on mobile video

Screens to go dark in January

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

Updated: Virgin is to switch off its mobile broadcast video service early next year.

The announcement comes less than 10 months after the service was launched, and is a result of BT Movio (the bandwidth provider) cancelling its contract with GCap Media, which owns the frequency.

The only handset ever equipped to receive the service was the Lobster 700TV which, despite a massive promotional effort featuring Pamela Anderson, had only sold around 10,000 at the start of this year.

BT Movio's service was using DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcast), which utilises the DAB network * (Please see Nick Piggott's comment below). But the EU's decision to endorse DVB-H as the mobile broadcast technology of choice put even more pressure on DMB-based services.

Business Week has produced an interesting analysis of the business model around broadcast mobile video, in light of Crown Castle shutting down its transmitter network (and Modeo service) in New York.

Its prediction is that Qualcomm will have 300,000 subscribers for its US MediaFLO service at the end of 2007, and goes on to suggest that Qualcomm could receive $10 per subscriber per month for the full year. That makes $36m for the year, contrasted with the $800m it's planning to spend building its network, and the $95m it cost to run the service in the last quarter.

Using existing 3G and 2G networks to send video streams to individuals might clog up the data channels, but figures like that make broadcast a very expensive proposition.

Virgin said its service will run until the end of January 2008, though BT's contract on the frequency lasts until 9 June. Virgin refused to comment on the reason for the cancellation, though a lack of subscribers seems likely.

BT Movio was intended to be applicable to any broadcast technology, as it provides DRM and content management services, but without any customers it seems that BT won't be continuing with the product. Timescales for shutting down the Virgin service are still under discussion, but they admit that sales have been "slower than originally expected", which they attribute to a lack of big-brand devices and lacklustre interest from operators.®

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.