6 Potential Strikes Against Nokia TV

{complink 3847|Nokia Corp.} has not achieved the success it wants in the smartphone market. Now it is hoping its new and special TV service (better known to broadcasters as the catch-up service) will help put it back in the game.

This special application is designed for the Lumia smartphone series and will let users browse a TV guide in real-time and watch programs on their devices. The Nokia TV service will be made available in Finland in the coming weeks.

After rolling out Lumias powered by the Microsoft Windows operating system, Nokia is trying to earn brownie points by offering special applications for the new devices. Nokia has released few details about the TV service, but it is clear that, in addition to watching programs, Lumia users will be able to access information such as program flow and comments made by people about the programs.

One important point to note is that the TV shows will be streamed only after they have been aired. This means watching live programs will not be possible on these phones. Also, no registration will be required to stream content.

Mika Suomela, head of TV and video at Nokia, said Nokia TV will not be positioned to jeopardize broadcasters' Internet TV businesses. On the contrary, it will support them.

What are the chances of Nokia TV pulling the company into contention in the smartphone market? I came up with six points about the critical issues that may make the idea a success. However, elements of the six points could make the idea a failure.

  1. Torture on-the-go:
  2. How many of us would settle for watching our favorite soap on a tiny phone screen? I am not a TV addict, but most times when I indulge in TV watching, I prefer to sit back on a sofa in front of a big screen. Trying to focus on a smartphone screen to watch television is more like Chinese torture than entertainment to me. But then, there are people who would appreciate the opportunity to watch TV whenever they like. For this group, Nokia TV may balance accessibility with comfort.

  3. Changes in TV consumption:
  4. Most people spend their day at work and reserve TV time for when they are at home. The success of Nokia TV — and competing products — will require a dramatic change in the way people watch TV and entertain themselves. Will this be possible? We simply do not have the time to watch TV on a mobile device during the workweek. We are either at work tapping keys or at home looking after our kids and doing household chores. How many of us actually have the time to watch TV on a mobile phone? Here is one quick answer: The mobile generation does. Also, that train or bus ride home may offer the perfect opportunity for a quick TV snack.

  5. Paying more:
  6. Streaming TV content on a mobile phone can burn out your monthly data allowance very quickly. We prefer to use our data quota searching for information on the Web, checking emails, etc. A couple of gigabytes per month should be more than enough for that. Streaming TV content to a mobile phone will require a much larger data quota, which will cost more. Are you willing to pay more for a service like Nokia TV? Is it really worth it? This is where unlimited use can be useful, but service providers are running away from this. Eventually, they will have to re-embrace this, but not before squeezing more money out of consumers. This may be a major roadblock for Nokia TV.

  7. Power squeeze:
  8. Streaming applications on a phone can shorten battery life dramatically. Using video and audio decoders requires quite a bit of processing power and can cause a phone battery to go flat much sooner than normal. Most people want to use battery life for receiving and making calls on a smartphone (no matter how smart it is). Is this trend likely to change? Does the Lumia offer a significantly improved battery life to compensate for the extra power Nokia TV will require? This major hurdle has no immediate solution. Until remote or wireless charging becomes possible, Nokia TV may see only limited use on the Lumia.

  9. Supplying content:
  10. Different countries have different regulations on the distribution and recording of TV content. Will Nokia TV be able to capture a sizable international market despite these different practices? It may work in harmony with the regulations in Finland, but how about the rest of the world? Furthermore, will content providers embrace the new service?

  11. Getting past the competition:
  12. Many streaming sites on the Web today offer the same service as Nokia TV. How will Nokia differentiate its service enough to make it successful? What is the advantage of using Nokia TV, rather than a streaming service on the Web that can also be easily accessed from any smartphone today? Nokia has to make its service stand out from the competition, and that's not a minor challenge. The details yet to be released will determine the strength of the offering relative to the competition.

Do you think Nokia TV will rock the world as much as Nokia thinks it will? Can it provide the smartphone market leverage the company desperately needs?

22 comments on “6 Potential Strikes Against Nokia TV

    April 10, 2012

    I liked your article and believe that Nokia will not fare well with this venture.  People do not want to watch TV on their phones.  I beleive it is a flawed strategy and a sign of desperation by Nokia.

  2. Daniel
    April 10, 2012

    Cagri, Nokia is trying it's best for a better last breath. They had lost the entire mobile handset market both in basic and Smartphone section. Now they are trying experiments with Mobile TV and I think here also the success rate may be very less. As you mentioned, who wants to see the picture in a soap box size, when data service peoples are offering IPTV through data card.

  3. tioluwa
    April 10, 2012

    I don't see how Nokia TV is going to give Nokia the back an edge in the smart phone market. I see it as too trivial a feature to significant change.

    the points you have raised are very critical and depict exactly what Nokia is up against.

    Nokia still has a very large share of the mobile phone market, especially in developing countries like Africa and Asia, but they are fast loosing that to android phones.

    I think Nokia needs to carve a new nitch for itself, but i don't think Nokia TV is it.

  4. bolaji ojo
    April 10, 2012

    I don't know whether this is a fantasy idea or if Nokia is serious about Nokia TV. The market just doesn't sound exciting to me and, moreover, it sounds like a “me too” sales program. I hope the Lumia is a strong device on its own.

  5. Cryptoman
    April 10, 2012


    Judging by the comments made, I think nobody sees this as a key strategy for a big come back by Nokia. I agree.

    This reminds me of the time when 3G phones were first on the shelves and the killer application for them was claimed to be the videophone. All the sales pitches were centered around the videophone and everyone thought people would be walking and talking as they stared into the little screens of their 3G phones. Well, that never happened. Nobody wanted the video with their phones. The majority of the people like the implicit privacy that comes with “audio only” option on the phone. The user preference and habits could not be changed by the impressive technology that was offered then.

    I see a parallel approach leading to a similar brick wall here. The salesmen think people will love carrying their tiny TVs around and watching it whenever they like. However, the six remarks in the article clearly show why this is an idea that is never going to fly.


  6. Jay_Bond
    April 10, 2012

    @ Bolaji, I agree with you completely. This just doesn't seem like a viable option that is going to take the market by storm. If they invest too much into this set up and particularly if the Lumia is a weak handset, this could be the final straw for Nokia.

  7. Barbara Jorgensen
    April 10, 2012

    Isn't the whole idea of mobility being able to access something while you are on the go? So why would anyone watch something that has already been broadcast on their phone? TiVo it and watch it later, or watch it in the comfort of your home on on-demand. This one really boggles the mind

  8. t.alex
    April 10, 2012

    I am note sure what kinda product Nokia TV will be offering. Will it be plain LCD TV with some content service similar to Google TV ? or will it be like a simple box like Apple TV? In any case, it is obvious Google and Apple are not doing well in this area. I believe Nokia is providing this service for their next generation tablet products. It is not bad a move if it works well.

  9. Cryptoman
    April 10, 2012

    The product is an application (software) called “Nokia TV”. It will be running on Lumia Series smartphones by Nokia.

    Nokia is not offering a standalone hardware specific to this TV service. Also, users will not be able to watch live shows using this application. It is a catch-up service.

  10. bolaji ojo
    April 10, 2012

    One of the things I find interesting about Apple is that it is really not a content provider. What it focused upon was providing an easy platform for content provider to use. It marketed uniqueness with the iTune ease of use with the iPhone and iPad. What exactly is Nokia marketing with the Lumia and Nokia TV? Ease of use or uniqueness? Neither seem to apply in this case.

  11. Daniel
    April 11, 2012

    t.alex, both Apple and Google have a host of other services, apps and products to integrate with TV, but what Nokia can Offer. These two are prominent players in industry and I don’t think so far their TV services are great success. In such a scenario I don’t think it’s easy for Nokia to find out a suitable market space, moreover Nokia has to approach third party service providers, for offering any add on services through the TV.

  12. prabhakar_deosthali
    April 11, 2012

    Offering non live TV servives on a smart phone does not sound like a sound Idea for a company like Nokia. A few years back I have seen some mobile phones offering live TV services by haiving built in Tv tuners.


  13. t.alex
    April 11, 2012

    Yes, if it is just an app on Lumia phone with no stream of contents, there is no big thing about this. 

  14. Adeniji Kayode
    April 12, 2012

    @Bolaji, I agree with you on that Bolaji, Nokia is in desperate situation right now and is ready to try anything for a come back.

  15. Cryptoman
    April 12, 2012


    Actually, having a built-in tuner on a phone does not seem like a bad idea despite the visual quality and signal degradation issues. At least that way, one gets a chance to watch live content !

  16. t.alex
    April 13, 2012

    Cryptoman, It is actually a good idea . I believe I have seen some China-made phones with this features.

  17. JADEN
    April 21, 2012

    @ Cryptoman,

    Sure, having TV on a mobile phone is not a bad idea but I don't see any excitement in this, because this can't give Nokia an edge in smartphone market race. The idea is not new, most China phones can stream a live braodcast while Nokia TV show is streamed after aired.

  18. JADEN
    April 21, 2012

    Nokia need better ideas and strategies to make waves in smartphone market, not like Nokis TV.

  19. Cryptoman
    April 21, 2012


    I totally agree with you that having a TV on a mobile phone does not have an edge at all. That was actually the point of my remarks. As an application Nokia TV is as ordinary as having a TV tuner on a mobile phone. In some use case scenarios this application is even inferior to a having a tuner as it does not offer live broadcasts at all.

    I also agree that Nokia needs to come up with something very impressive to rescue its failing smartphone business. Nokia TV simply is not good enough and is not the life jacket Nokia needs at the moment.



  20. JADEN
    April 21, 2012

    @ Cryptoman,

    That is the simple truth.

  21. Anne
    April 21, 2012

    If Nokia hope it has something for Apple or Google to worry about in the smartphone market, it is not like Nokia TV. This is an insgnificant piece of the smartphone, they need to come up with something better.

  22. itguyphil
    April 22, 2012

    What makes you feel so certain that people do not want to watch TV on their mobile devices? A lot of people watch movies on their handsets/tablets?

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