Mobile video services are about to go through the roof, according to ABI Research. The analyst firm predicts total revenues to surpass $2 billion worldwide by 2013. Its Mobile Research Services report charts a steep growth curve, running from about $121 million for 2010, to its multibillion estimate three years later; that same runaway growth is expected to continue through the final year of the reports forecast, 2015.
The report covers a broad range of mobile video services, including video telephony, video messaging, video sharing, video-on-demand, VoD downloads, and other video services. Of these, video telephony, messaging and video-on-demand are expected to be most popular, with video sharing at the opposite end of the spectrum.
The key drivers for this upsurge are growing consumer demand for mobile infotainment, which is in turn driven by the increasing availability of 3G networks; this market should spike all the more as MNOs rollout 4G services. In addition, the increasing number of users with higher-capacity, networked mobile devices that serve as application platforms fuels demand for Web 2.0 services and real-time collaboration.
ABI did identify a few potential barriers to growth, though. The still-lingering recession is probably the main concern, since a down economy can constrain subscriber usage, particularly in more developed countries; the burgeoning popularity of over-the-top (OTT) services may provide stiff competition for MNO-based mobile video; and while dynamic, the industry is still quite young, and has yet to deliver a wide enough range and variety of video-capable mobile devices. Moreover, MNOs are still trying to develop business models that reflect user preferences.
MNOs mustnt settle for the role of undifferentiated mobile ISPs that manage dumb pipes, said senior analyst Mark Beccue. They should provide a variety of mobile video services and leverage strategic ecosystems until they upgrade their networks to provide quality video services. Partnering with device OEMs and software solution providers will help to optimize mobile devices. This will contribute to an already significant investment, but the rewards will be great.