Mobile video’s future is bright. Mobile TV, not so much

A joint venture of 12 major TV broadcast groups last week tried to draw attention to Dyle, a service that delivers traditional TV content to mobile devices. Mobile Content Venture, as the JV is dubbed, said stations from Fox, NBC and other networks “will actively cross-promote” the effort in 12 markets including Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Miami. The service is delivered not through cellular networks, so it doesn’t increase data usage, but users must buy a $130 Audiovox receiver to view the broadcasts.

Mobile video usage is on the rise in a big way, thanks largely to the popularity of tablets and larger smartphones. Views on mobile devices increased threefold last year, and YouTube has seen mobile grow from six percent of its traffic two years ago to 40 percent in the most recent quarter.

But on-demand video is a great fit for mobile, where — as Todd Yellin of Netflix explained at Mobilize last month — users typically consume shorter segments per viewing session, even if they’re watching a movie. Live TV is far less compelling on mobile because users can’t watch exactly what they want at any given time and can’t “bookmark” video content to resume it later. Sports and breaking news are probably a great fit for mobile, but I think the overwhelming amount of traditional TV content will fail to attract much of a mobile audience.