AT&T continues the converged VoD trend
I rather like this. AT&T has announced that it has launched U-verse Mobile video for the Blackberry Curve 3G. The app – available for download from Blackberry App World – allows subscribers to its home U-verse TV service to browse its TV guide, schedule/manage PVR recordings and (provided those customers have a premium TV plan - $82 per month or above) download TV programmes to the handset over a WiFi connection. The service, AT&T says, is also being made available via various Windows 7 and Android devices. Now this is by no means the first service of its kind (for example, BSkyB launched a Sky+ app for iPhone and Android earlier in the year), but it is indicative of a growing trend which is illustrative of the way in which people consume mobile TV on the go. I wrote last week of the misfortunes of MediaFLO, and highlighted the reasons why it – and any other dedicated mobile broadcast TV networks – were struggling. Well, here’s another nail in the coffin: consumers are far less likely to want a linear TV experience. Stacked up on our PVR in the lounge are The First Men in the Moon, Ramsay’s Best Restaurant and (for some reason known only to my stepdaughters) numerous episodes of Peppa Pig. For one reason or another, I/my fiancée/my stepdaughters were otherwise engaged when these were broadcast: indeed, we might well have been watching some other programme from the PVR. In short, we are constructing our own narrative. Lest I start sounding like Roland Barthes or some other member of the benighted Tel Quel group, let me come quickly to the key implication of this: end users are transitioning from a linear model of TV towards video-on-demand, which rather cuts the ground from under the dedicated network, given that is designed to cater for mass audiences watching the same programme at the same time. That will now happen only for sporting events, or for news conferences featuring sportsmen whose off-course activities have served to briefly but immeasurably enhance the gaiety of nations. And HSPA/LTE, backed up by the not inconsiderable capacity relief of WiFi should hopefully be able to handle that.