No Take-Up for MobileTV

With the news that Virgin Mobile have sold less than 10,000 Lobster handsets it would seem that MobileTV is not the golden goose everyone was hoping for.

Virgin Mobile launched the Lobster 700TV and their broadcast service back in October with a £2.5m marketing campaign using Baywatch pinup Pamela Anderson, but have reportedly sold less than 10,000 units since then.

Backed by BT Movio, Virgin Mobile TV viewers can watch channels such as BBC1, ITV1, E4, ITN news, and more recently Channel4, as well as digital radio, but even a good selection of media hasn’t proved to pull in the punters.

Customers subscribing to a monthly contract of £25 or more gets the handset and TV for free. Pre-pay customers, get TV free for the first 90 days and must then spend £5 a month to continue the service. Virgin Mobile recently dropped the price of the handset from £199.99 to just £99 for pre-pay customers.

Alan Gow, Virgin Mobile’s chief executive did not seem to be worried, saying mobileTV is still in its infancy, and is hampered by the fact that there is only one handset available.

"Handsets are a fashion device and become unfashionable fairly rapidly and this one is approaching the end of its cycle," he said.

Virgin are looking to launch a range of new mobileTV handsets later this year, and will also introduce services allowing users to download and store  programmes for viewing when out of coverage area such as the tube.

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