Social Mobile TV Won’t Come Without Addressing Some Challenges

Social TV is the future of television as more apps are developed such as TapCast which we featured last week on Techvibes. Others include TurnerFish and goMiso.

TVRecaps CEO Mr. Khanna says that there are challenges that companies face in social mobile TV that need to be addressed in order to succeed.

1. Reach. There is no way to market an app to a large enough audience to turn it into a profitable business without a lot of capital.

2. Uniqueness. The app needs to provide something unique and desirable not already offered by hundreds of other apps.

3. Gamification. Users receive rewards on TapCast from “checking-in” to shows which is not rewarding enough for users to do. 

Mr. Khanna says that there are other reward apps like Viggle that offer real incentives such as physical prizes and coupons while GetGlue offers consumers real stickers and discounts.

Further, Canadian broadcasters both small and large in the mobile broadcasting space will want to be a part of eventual mobile apps like TVRecaps due to the CRTC’s ruling on mobile broadcasting in late September.

The ruling states according to media reporter Susan Krashinsky: “Wireless companies that also own TV channels must offer all their content on fair terms to competing mobile phone providers for their smart phone and tablet devices, and on the Internet.” 

Mr. Khanna admits that the core video search aspect, which is the foundation of what makes up TVRecaps’ competitive advantage online, could be the most challenging problem for them when it comes to mobile. 

Bell Media was the unhappy loser in the recent CRTC ruling according to Susan: “The CRTC also introduced a new ‘code of conduct’ to address a tectonic shift in the media industry of late: cable and satellite companies who have bought up TV networks—a trend known as ‘vertical integration.’ The regulator wants to prevent integrated companies from abusing their market power.”

Bell Media had wanted to exploit some content exclusively like lucrative sports content for mobile TV, as they have the rights to this year’s London Summer Olympic Games, but will now have to offer their content on fair terms to competing providers in the mobile space. 

However, Techvibes reporter Sarah McMahon-Sperber reported last week that Bell Media has since given mobile TV a much needed platform boost, launching a brand new mobile TV platform in conjunction with a company called Quickplay. It’s part of a shift that we’ve seen in the online TV world where HBO has launched HBO GO in the United States to compete against streaming providers like Netflix. That’s also the reason why Netflix is trying to produce other content as well to try and match the great quality of television that HBO has produced for years on end. 

“I think what HBO is doing is a good thing,” Khanna says on HBO launching HBO GO rather than integrating their content with streaming providers like Netflix. “Even Yahoo wants to create shows that are produced specifically for the web. Everyone just wants to be a technology company or a platform company but do that in this space, you need content and traditional media is not willing to give up its revenues to support these platforms. Everyone’s learned from what Apple did to the music industry. That is why we need to start producing web content that is not locked based on countries or any other restrictions. So if a traditional media company does want to move forward it only makes sense for them to develop their own online version of Netflix…which also does not cost too much to develop given the reward.”

There’s no doubt though that the CRTC changes for mobile broadcasters in Canada will be beneficial for independents like Mr. Khanna who is developing what he claims is a “Global Online TV Guide” with TVRecaps which will allow anyone, anywhere in the world to watch premium content online legally. Not to mention other independent TV networks and media companies other than Bell Media which is one of the first traditional Canadian networks in the space.

Bell leads Mobile TV thus far, but perhaps a mobile version of TVRecaps can help people who want to cut the cord.