Is free the way forward for mobile TV?

MTV thinks so...

MTV thinks so...

While mobile TV players are keen to tout just how much consumers will pay to get square-eyed, one MTV exec believes that free is the way forward.

Jason Hirschhorn, MTV's chief digital officer, told the 3GSM Congress on Wednesday that the broadcaster would enter into discussions with operators over an advertising-based business model.

He said: "I would love to reach out to any of the wireless providers to come up with any significant trial packages around advertising and set a standard."

Hirschhorn added that mobile content will need advertising to go mainstream: "Ultimately, I think advertising against mobile content will make this a mass-market business. Free is always good for the consumer."

By contrast, most operators trialling mobile TV are looking at a monthly subscription fee, which could be as high as £8 or £10.

The current confusion over which business models will work in mobile content could be harmful to the industry, some industry experts believe.

According to Rolando Balsinde, global head of telecoms at consultants McKinsey, diversity will mean uncertainty. "Atomisation will mean subscale effort and subscale investment... This is something industry must avoid," he said.