Murdoch questions mobile TV investment

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The business model for distributing television programming over mobile phones is still unclear, according to James Murdoch, who said on Wednesday ?we don?t know yet? which technology, business model or content would work best.

The BSkyB chief executive?s comments to an FT.com online question and answer session come as broadcasters, content owners and mobile network operators are investing heavily in video services.

Mr Murdoch said BSkyB, the UK satellite operator, had been ?encouraged? by the early response to its mobile services. More than 5m streams of live television channels had been accessed since it launched the service with Vodafone in November.

Sky was interested in other platforms than the mobile phone, he suggested, saying: ?It?s not complete to suggest that people won?t watch TV on their phones. That?s not the point. Products as diverse as Sony?s PlayStation Portable, the Archos portable hard drive or Motorola?s 3G RAZR all in different ways allow customers to consume content on the go.?

However, he added: ?Let?s not expect any one device... to be the Swiss Army knife of mobile content. They all do different things, and they are all changing fast.?

Mr Murdoch, who launched new broadband and mobile versions of Sky?s service this month, said the benefits of new distribution methods would have to be shared among a variety of players, but indicated that he still saw a central role for television companies.

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