Mobile video communication was once the hot ticket item among mobile providers, but now it’s just doing okay.
ABI Research’s Mobile Services Research Center ran a study that showed mobile video services were used by a little less than 47 million users at the end of 2011. It’s looking up for these services with 390 million projected users by the end of 2016.
When you factor in, however, that Verizon sold 4.2 million iPhones during this past holiday season alone; there’s not a lot of users taking advantage of mobile video services.
“Only a small minority of consumers are willing to pay a premium price for video calls,” ABI Research senior analyst Aapo Markkanen said. “Video services will be monetized by their bundling with other communication media, promoting premium features to enterprises, and delivering advertisements.”
A contributing factor for the continued monetization of mobile video communication is the wide array of free apps that offer the same features as the paid ones.
The most damaging factor, however, is that there are so many video communication apps out there and none of them can interact with each other. A person using Apple’s Facetime app can’t video chat with somebody using Tango or fring. It’s ridiculous to think that these companies would allow cross-platform video chats anytime soon as well.
I don’t want to use more than one video chatting service to talk to all my friends and neither do they. Sticking to just one video chat service, however, limits the amount of friends that can be communicated with. It’s a problem that needs to be solved, but nobody wants to do it lest they lose market share.
If through some miraculous signing of the great video chat treaty of 2012 that all major video communication services allow cross-platform use then there might be some progress made towards more users adopting mobile video services. Until then, the numbers will remain low.