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Mobile Video: challenge and opportunity

When it comes to a voracious appetite for video on mobile devices, India is a regional leader, with the overhwhelming majority of mobile phone owners seeking video content – hardly surprising from the land of Bollywood. But service providers and content creators need to innovate to tap this burgeoning market.
In this Special Feature, Tae Sung Park, CEO of new media delivery specialist Vidiator, (  ) discusses how an increasing demand for mobile video has seen operators and broadcasters pursue innovative new methods to promoting and rolling out mobile video services to consumers based on third party hosting and pre-loaded apps

Mobile video’s popularity in India represents a massive market opportunity that is revolutionizing the way video content is consumed. A recent survey conducted by Google in partnership with IPSOS and the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) found that a third of Indian smartphone users watch TV on their smartphone. Vidiator's own global research* has observed that operators and broadcasters that choose to offer a mobile video service have a considerable advantage when compared to those who ignore one of the biggest global growth markets within the mobile industry. Vidiator’s survey shows that India leads in South and South East Asia, with 88% of mobile device holders already paying for or willing to pay for video content (*  )
Furthermore, India has witnessed a huge boom in the sale of smart phones. This level of ownership means that content providers now have a clear opportunity to reach an audience that has traditionally had limited access to such entertainment and who are hungry for a wide variety of content.
Vidiator’s global research has also highlighted that these consumers are prepared to pay for these services, especially those that deliver a quality user experience. In fact, a large percentage of people have already paid to watch content on a mobile screen. By creating a direct relationship to the end customer, operators are in a unique position to capitalize on this growing trend - as long as they can act fast and establish themselves in a rapidly evolving market.

In order to successfully navigate the challenging road to mobile video success, companies need to consider the most practical and sensible approach to realizing the opportunity and rolling out a service. There is no one size fits all solution so this needs to be tailored to the local market. It is important to consider key factors such as the right technology infrastructure, whether this content should be live and on demand, as well as thinking about quality of service and interactive features that will deliver the best user experience. All this needs be achieved at the right price point.
This can be intimidating for operators who do not always have the in-house expertise or resources to deploy mobile video on their own. In the current economic climate there is also a concern about committing to major investments into hardware and infrastructure and fears about the length of time it will take to recoup the money investment. They also question their ability to recoup the incremental costs of offering mobile video at good enough quality for a paid service in a pre-pay market.
However rolling out new services shouldn’t always mean spending big on new infrastructure and back office systems or gambling on securing high numbers of initial users. Solutions exist today for operators and broadcasters to leave the hosting to a third party, allowing them to offset the risk of investment and then scale the service as required. By employing expert help with the mobile video roll-out, companies are beginning to realise they can efficiently reduce the up-front investment that is required and, as a result, can provide an effective way to monetise content across multiple screens.

Pre-loaded apps are the answer
With the technology infrastructure in place, operators can go the next step to enticing towards building a subscriber base by offering convenient ways for them to access services. The option to pre-load a video service app to a tablet or mobile device is very intuitive, user-friendly and marketable. Pre-loaded apps on to a tablet can help boost the desirability of a mobile product and provide manufacturers with differentiation beyond the standard technical feature catalogue.
Pre-loaded apps appeal across the market and offer a unique opportunity for both consumers and owners of media content. For consumers, apps have become a familiar and intuitive way to engage with and consume services on smartphones and tablets – at home and on the move. Apps allow them to enjoy a personalised entertainment experience by discovering, accessing and sharing video content. This social element, the ability to share content with friends, can be one of the biggest factors driving successful apps. It is an advantage for businesses looking to host the service, as it gets the app talked about, creates stickiness and repeated usage which in turn can deepen consumer loyalty.
A strong example of a pre-loaded video streaming app is the Vidiator Strim app. Strim is an advanced multimedia companion with a constantly growing catalogue of music and video content including, live TV, full-length movies on demand, trailers and exclusive Korean entertainment content. Editorial playlists allow users to easily discover new songs and videos and play the content quickly and effortlessly. Facebook and Twitter integration also allows users to share their favourite songs, discover what others are watching and enjoy a social experience. Accessible via a dedicated Android app, Web and WAP portal and powered by Vidiator®, Strim offers the highest quality, clear and uninterrupted video streaming and sound, with hardly any buffering, for a most advanced and enjoyable user experience.

Indonesian consumer electronics OEM Cyrus (  ) recently became the first brand to pre-load the Strim app on its brand new range of tablets and modems. Cyrus wanted to create an ecosystem of cutting edge services that make the most of its devices’ features and offer users a clear value add. Strim is an integral part of this ecosystem and its ability to deliver a unique entertainment experience is a compelling differentiator that is having a big appeal to with Cyrus customers.
Monetizing video shouldn't be a complex issue or one that requires months of in-depth study and lengthy deployment projects. With a simple roll-out process, the advantages of pre-loaded apps are clear to operators, broadcasters and device manufactures. With operators acquiring more subscribers and increasing ARPU and manufacturers selling more devices and creating brand loyalty, it has become increasingly clear that third party expertise and pre-loaded apps can be a benefit to all parties involved in the mobile video industry.
November 10 2012