In the United States, mobile TV has yet to become a technology embraced by consumers. There are services out there that allow the streaming of live content to mobile devices, but consumers have been reluctant to invest their time and money in order to watch their favorite programs while riding the bus to work. South Korea, however, is a different story. In 2005 the country launched mobile TV with its Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) service. A year later, over a million Korean people subscribed to mobile TV.
Jung, Perez-Mira, & Wiley-Patton (2009) conducted a study to determine what factors influence consumer adoption of mobile TV. Using the technology adoption model (TAM), and adding aspects of cognitive concentration and media content, they conducted a survey of DMB subscribers in Korea. The TAM theory assumes an individual’s intention to accept a technology depends on two beliefs: perceived usefulness (PU) and perceived ease of use (PEOU). Cognitive concentration, or flow experience, is “the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter” (Jung, et. all, 2009). I liken it to an athlete being “in the zone”, where their focus allows them to perform at a high level. In the technology environment, flow is measured by the enjoyment and concentration level which encourages users to use computers. The media content consideration measures a consumer’s assessment that programming is relevant, timely, and sufficient. Concentration is closely related to interest.
After the survey, the authors determined that content was an important factor in influencing consumers’ perceived usefulness of mobile TV and their cognitive concentration level while engaging in the viewing activity. Interesting content keeps viewers engaged despite the distractions inherit with the nature of the device. Surprisingly, perceived ease of use was not a big influencer on users’ perceived usefulness of mobile TV. This perhaps can be attributed to the fact the subjects in this survey are mostly considered early adopters of technology and are therefore savvy when it comes to mobile electronic devices.
From my point of view, content would definitely be the determining factor in whether or not I subscribed to a mobile TV service, but I would be more interested in the type of programming I could get rather than the quality of it. I’m not interested in watching drama or sit-coms while riding the bus. Those are programs I can watch via on-demand or DVR. I don’t want to try to follow the plot of CSI while someone’s looking over my shoulder or trying to chat with me. I’d be interested in watching live, informational programming such as news, sports and weather. Those programs don’t require my full attention yet allow me to pass the time and stay current with important events. This type of programming, in my opinion, lessons the importance the authors place on cognitive concentration as a factor that leads to the consumer adoption of mobile TV.
- What kind of content do you think would work well on mobile TV?
- What are the barriers to mobile TV becoming popular in the U.S.?
- Do you think the larger screens offered on tablets will make mobile TV more viable?