In the United States, streaming live video to a mobile device is a fairly new and cumbersome process. Verizon’s V-Cast has allowed users to stream live TV over 3G onto mobile devices. In 2005, Korea launched a service called Digital Media Broadcasting (DMB). DMB allows for the transmission of live TV and data to mobile devices, such as cell phones, car navigation systems, and laptops. It comes in two forms, terrestrial (free), and satellite ($14 a month). The Satellite-DMB provides more channels and has better reception compared to Terrestrial-DMB. In 2009, a study called “Motivators for the intention to use mobile TV: A comparison of South Korean males and females” was conducted to examine how different genders view DMB in Korea, and the possible implications for marketing the service.
The responses from the 256 undergraduate students surveyed in Korea came in the form of both quantitative and qualitative data. The authors of the study hypothesized that uses and gratification motivators for DMB users would include entertainment, social interaction, permanent access, pass time, and fashion and status. The survey results indicated that there were a few differences based on gender.
Men viewed a DMB device “like a toy, and perceive[d] the ownership of a mobile phone as a status symbol, [while] females were more concerned about the generic calling function of the device” (Choi, Kim, & McMillan, 2009). Women also gave much more weight to the social benefits that came with owning a DMB device. It was very important that DMB helped them stay in contact with friends and family. The authors recommended that the gender results should be used in DMB marketing.
While understanding the motivation for consumers to use DMB devices is important, there is a much larger question at stake: what is the future of streaming video content – live through DMB or through video on demand (VOD)? The study pointed out that DMB was an effective service because people would not have to return home at a specific time to watch TV; instead they could watch it anywhere. However, a major flaw with this is that TV consumption trends are changing. People will want to watch video on demand instead of being restricted to watch programming only when it is broadcast live.
Similar, yet significantly different than DMB, VOD provides an alternative to live television through mobile devices. Since 2009, VOD has become much more popular in the United States. Instead of watching TV when it is live, consumers in the United States are downloading and streaming shows through iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, and other services. Since people can start and stop a program at their convenience, VOD is a much more convenient way to consume content compared to DMB. If rights issues are resolved, this could become the case in Korea, and in many other places around the world. In order to stay viable long term, DMB must allow for video on demand services.
Questions for Discussion
Have you tried to live stream a video to your mobile device? If so, what was your experience?
Do you think streaming live TV has a future, or will everyone want his or her video on demand?
Do you use your mobile device as a fashion or status symbol?
Do you use your mobile device for the calling features or social functions?
Choi, Y. K., Kim, J., & McMillan, S. (2009). otivators for the intention to use mobile TV: A comparison of South Korean males and females. International Journal of Advertising (28), 147.