Last Thursday, I went to a Churchill Club event in Mountain View, Calif. thought I was going to be in a room filled with old men discussing the future of business but doing little about it, because they’re trying to understand it.
My first event as a young public relations professional was far from boring and actually more enlightening than I’d ever have thought it would be. The question aimed at presenters, panelists and observers was, Mobile TV: Will the Cell Phone Be the Next Mega TV Market?
One presenter happened to have caught both my eye and my mind. MediaFLO had no fancy tutorial, no live demonstration, but a sort-of commercial that explained where MediaFLO, along with its competitors, is headed.
Roundbox has this neat technology where they allowed the user to see the games activities in real-time — it wasn’t the average broadcast. For example, the demonstrator showed an actual baseball game going on, but instead of it being live television, it was presented as a video game with a baseball representation. This specialized content provides for a technology that the user can only get through mobile TV. Roundbox, thinking two steps ahead, is providing a demand for a technology not seen anywhere else.
Most companies offered similar services. Some differed, but not by much. Mobile TV Alliance has scrolling news going across the cell phone screen, while Penthera offers both mobile TV, as well as online TV.
A few testimonials, a few program samples and some image snapshots along with some empowering background music told me all I needed to know. Mobile TV is great, but will its success will be short lived? It will be interesting to see how this industry plays out in the future. Will people add this to their existing bill? These same questions may have been around when dial-up Internet access came into existence.
The panelists, who included researchers and analysts, addressed issues of financial necessity and popularity. One analyst explained how, although the technology is nifty, it’s pricey. Another panelist brought up the point that, although some carriers provide mobile TV, not many cell-phone users subscribe to the service because of its cost and lack of either promotion or generated demand. For about an hour questions went back and forth about the future of mobile TV, when to me the answer was pretty obvious. Everybody could use some public relations around here.
I’m not too sure where they’d start, what messages they’d create or where they’d go, but I do know that if they had an idea and created a demand from and with that idea, PR could work miracles.
In my opinion, only with PR could mobile TV become the next mega TV market.
— Jenny Smelyanets