In The Mobile TV Battle, It’s Not MediaFLO Versus MobiTV

Last month, Business Week had an in-depth article entitled "The Mobile TV Wars" talking about how Qualcomm’s MediaFlo and MobiTV’s service are going to compete with one another to try and dominate the market. While the article is a god read, I think it misses the major point. That being that it’s not MediaFLO versus MobiTV.

MobiTV is simply an aggregator that is filling a spot in time similar to the role that Moviso and Infospace once filled for ring-tones. Once the content market matures and mobile discovery is more effective, MobiTV will become a footnote. MediaFLO is a $800M Manhattan project that is built on the belief that video cannot be delivered in-band due to a scarcity of spectrum. By taking the delivery out-of-band MediaFLO simply trades a scarcity of spectrum for a scarcity of content.

I’m not the only one that thinks that the capabilities of broadcast delivery compared to unicast are more economic than technical. Just as airlines use different aircraft depending on load and demand; video will be delivered via different mechanisms based on demand. The real issue is how to deliver the appropriate experience at the appropriate time. The best way to do this is develop tools, systems, and delivery networks that are designed for the mobile use case.

I’d like to see an article that really details the economic differences between broadcast and unicast. It’s not a technical issue as most make it out to be but rather, it is simple economics.