TV going mobile: ESPN, Time Warner lead the way

By Stephanie Stouffer

Last week Mobile Marketer published a story about ESPN partnering with Time Warner to provide live-streaming TV on mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad. As revolutionary as it may sound, this is the way of the future.

Four years ago, there was a significantly smaller number of people in the U.S. accessing the Internet on their cell phones. Morgan Stanley released this study in December 2009, and the trends were already showing. It clearly shows the importance of mobile Internet. But something to consider when we start talking about the TV world: where does local television fit into the equation? Sure, it’s easy for the most-watched network in the United States to produce mobile apps to stream live television. But do local network affiliates have the same access to resources and funding?

The answer is yes — if you’re a big market. Mobile Content Ventures just announced it is planning — with 12 major broadcast groups — to start offering mobile streaming to local affiliates by the end of the year. But here’s the hitch — the markets included in MCV’s project range from Dallas to Miami to St. Louis to Seattle. It’s a diverse group, but it’s still exclusive to major metropolitan areas where advertising revenue is significantly higher than smaller markets. So will mobile streaming move to more rural areas? Eventually…but I think the time frame is probably 3-5 years.

Four years ago, everything was going online — now, everything is going mobile. The tablet sensation is going to be the biggest game-changer the media world will see since the invention of the Internet. It gives people the opportunity for local TV on-the-go, network TV on-the-go, and eventually, the cable and satellite companies will be selling full cable packages for mobile devices.

AppleTV is the other major player in this streaming game. But what AppleTV offers is the comforts of sitting on the couch with your 60″ plasma. That’s a little bigger than the iPad. So… What will you be watching in 5 years? Movies through Hulu Plus, Netflix, and AppleTV, and news on-the-go on your cell phones and tablets. Pretty awesome, huh?

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Welcome to the official blog page for University of Missouri students working to bring the Online News Association to Mizzou.
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