Imagine, in the 2016 Olympics at Rio, Usain Bolt is getting ready for a sprint to record a hat-trick of gold medals and you are enjoying it on your mobile phone in office. Yes, uninterrupted streaming of TV channels on your mobile is not far away. Though, such broadcast on mobile already exists to certain extent, it’s usage is very limited due to variety of reasons.
However, Live streaming content based Mobile apps are going to be the future of the television industry. How you ask? Here is why…
Mobile TV App channels
All the major Indian television channels- Sony, Colors, Star Sports, Discovery, NDTV and others – have their own app available on Google Play, Apple app Store and Windows Phone for free. Some of the famous programs like Comedy Nights with Kapil, Big Boss, Kaun Banega Crorepati too have applications available on these platforms.
Along with TV channels, digital service providers like Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV and Dish TV are providing various TV channel packages on mobile applications. All the service providers’ apps are free for the first month. After that, viewers can buy suitable pack for their mobile TV. Viewers need to buy separate plan for apps and cannot link it to the normal TV plan.
Mobile service providers like Idea, BSNL, Docomo, and Vodafone have also launched mobile apps for watching TV channels on the go. Lesser known apps like Mobile TV and NextGen Mobile TV are also available on app stores. But service provided by these 3rd party apps may not be up to the mark compared to the official apps by digital TV service providers.
Currently, in a city like Mumbai, a family of four spends an average of only 5.2 hours in front of the television set per day. Though this figure reaches 8 hours on weekends, average viewership hours have been gradually decreasing in the past 5-7 years. With emergence of official YouTube channels, viewers prefer internet over television to watch their favorite programs.
Sony Entertainment Television has nearly 4 million subscribers on their YouTube channel with 1.3 billion views in the last eight years. Similarly, Colors TV received 2.6 million subscriptions with nearly 800 million views over the period of six years. These figures are an indication that viewers are happier to watch their favorite programs online in their leisure time.
Also, people don’t find time to watch live television, so they choose YouTube. But for live telecasts such as sports matches, nearly 75% of audiences still prefer TV over internet (in India). YouTube doesn’t telecast live matches and official websites of sports channels need separate subscription for it.
As for applications, official app of every TV channels has got millions of downloads but use of apps for live TV does matches with that of television. People watch videos of their favorite programs online in free time.
Why TV app has a great future?
Finding and matching time with specific shows is becoming difficult day by day. With improving technology, mindset of the consumer has also changed. All the consumer services including reading, shopping and banking are available on the internet and come with special technology for mobile-based customers.
TV channels cannot lag behind in this race. As a result, in just two years of time, all the leading channels and service providers have introduced their mobile apps.
TV apps can be promoted according to viewer tendency. Live TV (online streaming of the current program on a channel) can be a great option for live matches and favorite weekend programs. For other programs, video archives can be accessed. Such a strategy will ensure that TV apps will have a brighter future. This is in line with people’s requirements.
Subscription cost of the service providers’ apps is very less and it will become cheaper with time. Tata Sky costs their users an average of 250 rupees per month for around 75-100 channels on television. On the other hand, Tata Sky’s mobile app service is available for 60 rupees per month where you can choose your favorite channels.
Studies suggest coming generations will look for more personalization in their lifestyle. And mobile phone is the most personalized device available in the market. TV channel apps also come with the same promise. Customizing of your favorite adventure channels according your need will be a far better experience than watching it on your common family television. You don’t need to worry about timings of the programs and the interests of your siblings or parents.
Challenges for the apps
Poor data connection is one of the prime hurdles TV apps are facing. Television, on the contrary, guarantees uninterrupted supply most of the time. On a broadband internet connection also, videos can be enjoyed with speedy streaming.
Apps are mostly used on the go. For quality viewing, an uninterrupted data connection is essential. Cellular service providers do provide data with 3G speed but the prices are very high. Users need to pay around 250 bucks for 1 GB internet data pack. This is consumed with video streaming of about 3 hours only. So watching a live football match for 100 odd minutes will cost you nearly 150 rupees and your data limit will be exceeded in just 2- 3days.
Right now, using apps for television is a bit complex. Switching between channels on service providers’ app can be difficult. Installing multiple apps of various channels is also not feasible. Their use is limited to watching archive videos. If hassle free provision of channel changing is included in these apps, then watching TV on mobile may soon become a routine for many of us.
However, 4G revolution is around the corner, and if we get rates like what Reliance Jio Infocomm plans to offer, the 2 major hurdles of speed and price will vanish. Live TV apps will surely be the future and more people may watch the 2019 Cricket World Cup on their mobile phones rather than TV.
And yes, with devices like Chromecast and Teewe available, we may prefer watching channels through our mobile devices (on the big screen) rather than live television itself!
What do you think?