RealTime IT News

Is Wireless Media Ready for Prime Time?

Wireless streaming media is almost ready for prime time, which means that the success of wireless operators requires that they determine precisely what media content their users want, a study released Tuesday by Datacomm Research Company and AccuStream iMedia Research said.

"Wireless streaming is ready for prime time, and operators need to know the leading content brands and how they stack up against each other," said Paul Palumbo, research director for AccuStream iMedia Research and primary author of the report.

The study noted that the top Internet video sites such as AOL, RealNetworks and WWF.com, delivered 143 million streams in February of this year. The top audio sites such as Real Networks, Yahoo Broadcast and MusicMatch delivered more than 64 million hours of content during the same month.

The report claimed that streaming wireless audio will do better than video at first because it requires less bandwidth and doesn't require advanced hardware such as sophisticated displays. However, the report says that eventually users will demand streaming video.

The report notes that Internet radio is "a potential gold mine" for operators, even though that delivery mechanism is under attack by the recording industry.

What isn't settled yet, the report notes, is how streaming media will be paid for. It described said the industry is not yet settled on whether the media content will be subscription-based or subsidized by advertising.

However, the report warned that, because wireless media streaming is expected to catch on quickly, operators must decide quickly which model is the right one for their customers.

The findings are part of the report: Wireless Streaming Media: Hard Numbers on Supply & Demand.

David Haskin is managing editor of sister site allNetDevices.com.