Mobile carriers have been trying to get subscribers to watch video on their mobile phones for years, but the market is still tiny: Some 6.5 million U.S. wireless subscribers watched video on their mobile phones in August, or 2.8% of the U.S. mobile market, according to comScore M:Metrics.
The good news for carriers and companies like Qualcomm (QCOM) and MobiTV, who sell mobile video services: That’s up almost 50% from last December, when about 1.9% of the market watched video on their phones. (M:Metrics has changed their polling methodology since then, so these stats aren’t precisely apples-to-apples. But they sufficiently point out how small the market is, and that the needle is moving in the right direction.)
The bad news for Qualcomm and MobiTV: We think most of the growth in the market is coming from free services like the YouTube (GOOG) app built into Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone — not broadcast TV-like services that cost an extra $10-$15 a month.
Indeed, M:Metrics says amateur video clips are the most popular — watched by 38% of mobile video viewers this summer — followed by music videos, comedy videos, and movie trailers.
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