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Mobile TV generation: 23 too old?

CANNES: Mobile TV is not a guy or girl thing. More than anything else it is a young thing.

And, the young have the capacity to consume mobile TV content even while sitting in front of a television in their living rooms. Multitasking is what it’s called and the older folks can’t really get the drift.

So just who are these older folks that are not clued in to this new world? We’re talking of the 22+ generation and not the 35+ it needs noting.

The key demographic that consumes mobile TV is the 12 to 22 demo, Matt Heiman, CEO and co-founder, Mobix Interactive (UK) points out and not the 14 to 34 (or in India’s case the 15 to 35 demo) that one traditionally looks at as the young and techno savvy lot. And one of the reasons Heiman offered for such a low age skew is that today’s 12-year-olds are like yesterday’s 16-year-olds. Tapping in to their psyche is really important, Heiman stressed.

He was part of a very clued in panel that the first session of the “mobile TV” day at Mipcom had talking on “Programme Commissioning Outlook 2010 Mobile & Cross Platform Formats.” Other speakers on the panel included Roma Khanna, senior VP, content, Chum Television International (Canada) and Sophie Walpole, head of Interactive Drama and Entertainment, BBC (UK).

Said Heiman, the transition of handsets to 3G would really be the take-off for mobile TV. Looked at in revenue terms, the Arpu difference would from the current average of 70 p per user to single digit pounds.

Another issue that was discussed revolved around whether telecom companies or telcos have the capability to become content aggregators. Can they offer the expertise? An emphatic no was Roma Khanna’s take on the matter. “Taste making is much more important than gate keeping,” Khanna argued. She believes that as mobile TV becomes more established, this factor will get even more emphasised.

BBC’s Sophie Walpole said the critical point was “who are the audience and how can you reach them in the simplest most seamless way?”

Walpole said drama is actually harder to introduce during interactivity, since interactivity actually tends to take away from the experience of consuming the content. Interactivity can actually distract or break the narrative flow of the story. Enhancing the drama and not interrupting the drama is critical.

Heiman drew attention to another critical point, which is that mobile requires a certain type of content presentation. And getting that right is no mean task. His advice: Get a partner who has the expertise and can repurpose content for mobile.

What type of content moves well via mobile ? Not surprisingly it is music, news and comedy. Surprisingly though, sports is not high on the interest list of the young jocks who hook in to mobile TV. Except for score updates, which is really an SMS activity more than anything else.

So what’s the future outlook? Linked content on mobile is a possibility. Future is interconnectivity and not just interactivity. Akin to the blogging phenomenon on the net.

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