Mobile Carriers and Content Owners Won’t Give Out Usage Data On Mobile Video

For all the talk by the major mobile carriers and content owners of how "successful" their mobile video offerings are, none of them that I speak to are willing to give out any usage data that we can use to truly judge their "success". Last week, I asked Sprint for any data pertaining to the full-length NFL games they have started broadcasting to handsets but was told they didn't have any data to share, primarily because they don't want to tip off the competition.

MediaFLO, who's service is offered in a partnership with AT&T and Verizon, won't say how many users it has for the service. And Verizon, which in September added more full-length shows to their VCast offering, won't say how many users they have, how many hours of content has been viewed or even how many pieces of content have been consumed.

Of course that has not stopped any of the carriers from proclaiming their services as being, and I quote, "widely successful, "having tremendous growth" and giving out completely generic and useless data like "viewership increased by 100%". And while I have seen some research reports state the size of the mobile video market in the U.S. and what it is expected to grow to in the future, I can't seem to get research houses to say where those numbers come from. What is the data behind these projections? Is there any or is it a complete guess?

I am constantly being pitched by various carriers in the space who want the media to talk about how "successful" their mobile video offerings are, yet they give us no data at all to make their case. How are we suppose to talk about their video offerings in the market when we have no usage data, penetration rates, consumption numbers, and trending statistics? So why won't the mobile carriers release more data on mobile video usage? I can only guess it is because the numbers are so small they feel that releasing them will look like their offering is a failure. But we have to start somewhere, we need data to build off of. Has anyone seen any of the major carriers release any data like this to the industry? If so, I'd love to see where you found it.

  • Markell

    They won’t give you any data because the numbers are low and un-impressive. I can see the mobile phone as a better suited medium for Internet radio way before it becomes the same for video. Consumers are just not there yet…I have smart phone with video capabilities and I barely use it for that purpose…why should I when I’m surrounded by BIGGER screens all throughout the day…61 inch TV screens @ home…24″ PC flat screens in the office…it’s rare I’ll watch something on my phone..only if I’m on the train…and then battery life becomes an issue…lots to be done in this area my friends.

  • streaming steve

    Operators are scared of video ‘downloads’ on their mobile networks. The strain on switching is quite heavy. Most operators are evolving from voice switching which requires on average 5kbps (with voice activity) per user, but video requires 64kbps per user. From a user point of view, my experience with video on the move is very good. So mobility is very important and I am willing to tolerate smaller screen sizes because I don’t have to be home to watch news clips.

  • Parenthetical comments

    Comscore reported 6.5M subs watched mobile video in August. See http://www.comscore.com/press/release.asp?press=2558 – how did they get their information?

  • phoneranger

    I found some good stats and quotes here. http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6614825.html
    However no one is very forthcoming about audience size. The idea that Verizon or Sprint will be in the vanguard of mobile video is unrealistic. They have too many other priorities — building a mass market for bandwidth hungry video isn’t one of them. The winners are going to be offdeck.

  • Hi,
    T-Mobile USA added 670,000 net subscribers in the third quarter, FierceMobileContent reports, which is on pace with their second quarter results but about 22 percent behind their pace last year.