Report: French mobile TV on fast track


PARIS -- France will have more than 5 million mobile television subscribers by the end of 2012, according to a new report.

Digital media analysis consultancy NPA Conseil forecasts that subscriptions to mobile TV, due to launch in the summer in France, will total fewer than 1 million by the end of 2009, but will rise sharply over the next three years -- ultimately reaching about 5.6 million. The findings are part of a report into mobile television in France to be published next week.

The Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel, France's broadcasting regulator, called for tenders from potential mobile broadcasters this month. Applications for licenses must be in by Jan. 15, and the government hopes that the first mobile TV services will be up and running in time for the Beijing Olympics in the summer. All existing broadcasters are expected to bid for at least one channel.

"More than 5 million subscribers (by 2012) would obviously make it a successful launch," NPA associate director Philippe Bailly said. "What makes us more optimistic is that mobile TV doesn't just mean television on the cell phone, but will no doubt include pocket TVs, screens in cars and so on. And the fact that French people spend an average of one hour per day in transport means there is a certain time availability," Bailly added.

The NPA study is based on factors including consumer readiness to pay for TV services, and takes into account the progressive rollout of mobile television across the territory.

Separately, NPA and entertainment market analyst GfK published figures last week that show spending in France on VOD in the third quarter of this year grew by more than 25% over the prior quarter, to 7.9 million euros ($11.7 million).

Total revenue in the first nine months of 2007 from VOD (combined rental and download-to-own) reached nearly 20 million euros ($29.7 million), the study found.

NPA and GfK predict 35% growth for the last quarter, which means the VOD market in France this year will be worth about 30.5 million euros ($45.3 million), roughly double its value in 2006.

Gallic movie titles filled all 10 slots in the top 10 best-seller list on VOD, far outstripping their performance in the local DVD rankings.