A new report into youth use of mobile phone entertainment has highlighted that even today’s technology savvy younger generation is confused by the range and cost of mobile services now available. Responses from 638 UK mobile users aged between 11 and 25 indicate that today’s ‘connected’ youth audience is failing to grasp the full potential of mobile phone entertainment – or understand the best ways to access it. The research was conducted by youth research specialist Q Research in conjunction with Intellistream, a specialist in interactive mobile video and voice applications.
Despite being avid consumers of the latest gadgetry ― 94% of 11-25 year old males and 89% of females own a PC and over two-thirds have an MP3 player ― survey responses showed a genuine lack of understanding of mobile phone content, services such as mobile video, how they are accessed and a fear of the likely cost of these services.
In spite of all participants being surveyed over the Internet via a WAP website, 32% said they could access the Internet on their phone but did not, with a further 3% claiming that they could not access the Internet at all on their handset. Since users were responding to questions using a WAP site, they were by definition using the Internet.
Panellists were also confused by the extent and ways to watch different video and TV services on their mobile phone. Although 85% of respondents said they had the ability to download videos, 57% claimed not to be able to view TV podcasts which use the same formats – further evidence of user misunderstanding.
This apparent confusion contrasts with the general rise of video calling, mobile TV, and other content, available both as commercial downloads or user generated content.
Adoption of mobile video and live TV services by 11 to 25 year olds is being constrained by concern over access and pricing: 31% of respondents said they made video calls on their mobile phones, but of those that didn’t, 49% said they didn’t because of high network charges. Just over one fifth, 21%, of the interviewees said they watched live TV on their mobile, but of those that didn’t, almost the same proportion, 50%, said they didn’t because of excessive network costs.
The findings suggest that mobile network operators and content providers who overcome users’ lack of awareness or confusion over mobile services’ in terms of access, interactivity and cost, will be able to more rapidly realise the potential mobile entertainment service and associated revenue streams.
Jim Beagle, chief executive officer of survey sponsor Intellistream, said: “Defining new service categories is good for market differentiation but as the survey findings indicate, these labels appear to hinder user understanding and widespread adoption of new services. By more clearly communicating pricing packages and doing more to remove the current perception that the cost of video calling or live TV is high, network operators will more quickly be able to make these services as interactive, user-driven and as ubiquitous as SMS already is for this market.”
“There is also a wider issue hinted at in these responses: if today’s technically literate young people don’t know how to fully use the range of services available on their mobile phone, then other consumer categories certainly won’t either. We know that many young people encourage friends or simply shame their parents into trying new interactive services, such as real time video to mobile applications, TV podcasts and video-based games. If the industry isn’t successful in building on the clear interest in video sharing and video calling amongst this group, new entertainment services will be slower to reach the critical mass needed to ensure widespread adoption by consumers.”
The survey was sent to 1655 Q panellists in the UK aged 11 to 25 years in August 2007 and conducted via WAP.
Intellistream (intellistream.co.uk) provides interactive video enabled mobile solutions. Its customers include a broad range of organisations in the entertainment, security and advertising industries looking to tap into opportunities created by new mobile technologies.
Intellistream was founded in March 2006. Its first product Unistream™, a high performance platform for creating, hosting and delivering interactive 3G video applications, was launched in September 2006 and gained its first client just 3 months later.
The Unistream™ platform enables any end-user with a 3G handset to access high quality video enabled mobile applications without having to first download or install anything on their 3G handsets. The patent-pending technologies embedded into the platform make Unistream applications faster and more responsive than is possible with alternative technologies.
Intellistream's customers enjoy faster time-to-market, simplified application creation and management, comprehensive data capture and higher degree of control of the end-user experience.