Hey stud, that a cellphone in your pocket?

Google has stumbled upon some interesting data as it pushes its way into the mobile search. Apparently, 20% of all searches are for adult content, as opposed to 8.5% via PCs. Not only does this run counter to conventional wisdom that folks would be more prone to view such content in the warm-blue glow of their home monitors, it also points to the viability of mobile television. While pornography has long been called the true killer app for technology adoption in the consumer space, there were quite a few reservations as to whether this was applicable to handsets since most people tend to be a bit shy about watching Thanks for the Mammaries on the bus. Google’s discovery helps grind down this particular obstacle.

Yet opposite the hyperventilating conference attendees working themselves up into a lather about mobile TV is a laundry list of very real challenges. In brief:

  • Competing formats: Europe’s DVB-H, Korea’s terrestrial and satellite DMB, and MediaFLO in the US
  • Scads of different national regulatory environments
  • The absence of an established, successful a business/revenue sharing model, which is perpetuated by…
  • Operators that think in terms of ARPU instead of audience
  • Content providers that have no clue how to repurpose, or don’t want to and are hoping to God that aggregators will deal with it

Beyond the technological maturity of Korea’s DMB environment, one of the reasons that Korea has been so successful in rolling out mobile TV has been the crack job done by aggregators in enabling content delivery. While some credit of the rapid rollout can be attributed to a certain cultural homogeneity that fosters more economies of scale than most Western operators enjoy, what’s interesting is that this was accomplished without a heavy nudge from porn. So perhaps what Google’s factoid demonstrates is less that mobile TV will wash across the Earth in a shuddering crescendo of portable moans and groans, but more that there is indeed a hunger for a third screen that many detratractors have said is too small to be feasible.

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