UK Viewers Turned on by Mobile Radio

17 January 2006

A trial of mobile television in the UK has shown viewers are quite enthusiastic about the concept, but they are more in tune with digital radio.

The test, carried out by telco giant BT and cellphone network Virgin Mobile, revealed that while 59% of cellphone users rated mobile TV through their handsets as appealing, 65% said the same about radio.

The 1,000 consumers, surveyed over six months, watched an average of 66 minutes of TV a week on their phone, but listened to 95 minutes of radio. They would only be willing to pay around £5 ($8.8; €7.2) for the TV service, half the amount hoped for by the industry.

But Emma Lloyd, managing director of BT's Movio business is resolutely upbeat, saying: "I would characterise it as radio [being] even more attractive than TV in the trial. We will be able to piggy-back on the attractiveness of digital radio." She plans to offer a wholesale TV service to mobile phone companies from this summer.

Participants in the trial were offered three channels a week including news, sports and music. Some viewers liked to dip in and out of the rolling news services while others watched their favourite shows when out of the house.

While at home, participants used mobile TV to continue watching when away from the set elsewhere in the house, while children used it to watch TV in their bedrooms.

Users preferred to watch whole programmes or news bulletins rather than highlight channels. Mobile TV was particularly popular with rail commuters, peaking in the mornings and evenings.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff