Yesterday MobileMonday had their third monthly gathering in Shanghai. This time the topic was Mobile TV, a very hot topic in China right now (trust us). Four different presentations introduced this topic to the audience: the encryption technology (Thierry A. Raymaekers, Irdeto), the content aggregation (Jan Henrik Pratje, 1MP), the technical aspects (Johann Le Roux, MIH Group), and the programming (Angela Chan, I-Vision). More details aboutteh presentershere. The main messages of all the speeches were that South Korea is an industry leader and China will push these systems due to the Beijing Olympics 2008.
Another important point the speakers noted during the event was the differentiation between downloadable content (also streaming) and broadcasted TV programs. Actually, these two variants use totally different technology which is then unified in the mobile phone device (or another device like microwave, portable media players, etc.)
Following the presentation the event started with its more interesting part, the panel discussion. In addition to the above speakers, David Schapira, Expway, joined the group. During the discussion it was clear that both technologies (streaming and broadcasting) will exist in future and will complement each other as an integrated service. Thierry mentioned that the China-specific problem currently is that the different players (CCTV, China Mobile, Shanghai Mobile, MII, etc.) are playing against each other — something he had not seen in other countries. China also probably will come up with its own standard for broadcasting TV to mobile devices, to avoid the royalty fees for the international standards. For us travelling consumers, this is not really convenient as our China mobile TV device will not work elsewhere.
A short digression led to soft adult content — will this be a big revenue driver in China? As regulation is strong here, especially for the broadcasting, there will be none. For streaming/downloading this will be definitely available. How big the business will be depends on the intensity of government intervention.
Mobile TV is currently very hot in China. The reason is the Bejing Olympics in 2008. In order to have a running and stable service ready, the system needs to start to be deployed in August 2007. So far the government has not decided for any standard and there’s no Chinese system available … but they are working hard on that.
When will we be able to receive TV content on our mobile devices in Shanghai? Very soon, actually. The first public trial roll-out with 10,000 devices will start officially on March 28. Let’s see if we can get hold of some devices.
All related materials including presentations will be available on MobileMonday’s Blog or Google Group. The next event will be in March (due to Chinese New Year).