In-Stat recently investigated whether U.S. mobile phone subscribers are interested in mobile video and they found out one in eight respondents indicated they were interested in buying mobile video services from their wireless carrier.
However, the report also indicated that two thirds of mobile phone subscribers do not have a cell phone capable of playing video and this number is unchanged since last year's survey.
“Though mobile video does not yet appear to have widespread appeal, In-Stat believes that there is enough interest for it to generate some significant revenue for carriers in the near term,” says David Chamberlain, In-Stat senior analyst. The number of subscribers purchasing mobile video content in the U.S. will increase from an estimated 1.1 million in 2005 to over 30 million in 2010, In-Stat forecasts.
Between now and 2010, the greatest year-on-year growth will come in the 2005-2006 period as deployment of high-bandwidth networks become more widespread in the US. It will also be a period of expanded carrier marketing of video services increases and broader availability of video-capable handsets.
The most desirable customers (long-term loyal customers who are satisfied with their service and unlikely to churn to other carriers) are the least interested in purchasing mobile video.
While this report is based on cell phones it may also mean it would make sense for Apple to release a video iPod. The iPod players have bigger screens than most cell phones and I believe there would be quite some interest in a portable media player with video functionality from Apple.