According to Derek McManus, chief technology officer for O2 UK “Watching a YouTube video on a smartphone can use the same capacity on the network as sending 500,000 text messages simultaneously.”
This means, distributing mobile TV and VOD (Video On Demand) to an audience of that size is another matter, especially when mobile networks are feeling the strain of high volumes of data traffic. MobiTV, a provider of live streaming and VOD services to over 8 million subscribers, believes that if mobile TV is going to compete with traditional television, mobile operators must be able to address audience peaks in order to meet consumer demand for live TV and VOD.
Recent global events, such as Michael Jackson’s memorial service resulted in significant peaks in viewing figures for mobile TV, and this trend is set to continue driven by major sporting events such as the World Cup in South Africa and the Olympics in 2012.
“Audience peaks focused around live events drive mobile TV usage, and mobile operators need to be prepared to cater for this demand if they are going to take advantage of the interest around big events such as the World Cup or the X-Factor. Consumer appetite for mobile applications and services is already stretching the capabilities of mobile networks, which will require operators to consider new methods of content distribution to ensure that subscribers receive a smooth and consistent mobile TV service.”
“The ability to scale to meet the demand for live TV and VOD, whenever peaks in mobile TV usage occur, provides operators with the capacity to sustain those peaks and generate additional revenues. Operators can also reduce costs by optimising the delivery of the content to suit network conditions. Subscribers are less likely to pay for a mobile TV service that doesn’t allow them to watch primetime events, while content providers are more likely to partner with an operator that has the capacity to support the delivery of live broadcasts and VOD to a wide audience.” [source]