July 2, 2007
Telephia Finds Mobile Video Subscribers Tripled; Company Purchased by Nielsen

Mobile consumer research group Telephia has seen a significant amount of press in the past week, releasing a study at the beginning of last week which found that revenues spent on mobile video tripled in the first quarter of 2007, and then following that up with news that the research firm is being purchased by industry titan Nielsen.

The Nielsen purchase will bolster Telephia's resources while giving the audience measurement company substantial in-roads to the burgeoning mobile market. Rafat Ali with paidContent points out that this comes three weeks after Nielsen announced its Nielsen Wireless initiative for mobile content audience measurement.

See more from Alice Z. Cuneo at Advertising Age.

Their most recent study found that subscriptions to mobile television services actually grew 198 percent from the first quarter of 2006, to approximately $146 million. The estimation is that 8.4 million people in the U.S. subscribe to mobile video, which is about 4 percent of the country's mobile users.

These statistics mean that mobile growth continues, but that it is also important to keep in mind that the growth is slow, and that this phenomenal growth currently equals 4 percent of the mobile population, not the overall population. As Bruce Leichtman pointed out in my interview with him recently:

Evolution is not revolution. People want things to change overnight, but they don't. Markets evolve. We might look back in five years and say, "That's amazing!," but people expect change to happen in a month, and it generally doesn't happen that way.

It's also about segmentation. It's not about everybody. When we talk about higher-end services, for instance, income is very important. We have to think on those levels and keep in mind that change that is evolutionary like this doesn't necessarily affect the masses overnight.

Today, 81 percent of households have a PC at home, and close to three quarters are now online at home. If you look back, that's amazing, but it didn't happen overnight. If you get into niche areas like iPod video, you really have to think about how that market will evolve or even if it will evolve. What does Apple TV bring to the table? Too often, people don't think about these questions. What is the unique selling point of this product?

People get all tied up in the "gee whiz" of it, but what they have to consider is what separates this product and what will drive people to shell out "X" amount of dollars.

See more from the Telephia study here.

I've written about Telephia before. Back in February, the company announced a deal with mobile advertising firm Third Screen Media to provide information for potential marketers for the mobile platform. I wrote, "Telephia will apply its research questions of user preferences and interests and make that information available to Third Screen's clients, putting together information for advertisers to better plan mobile media ad campaigns or transmedia/cross-platform campaigns that include a mobile component."