Balbi, G., & Prario, B. (2008). Back to the Future. The Past and the Present of Mobile TV. In G. Goggin & L. Hjorth (Eds.), Mobile Technologies: From Telecommunications to Media (pp. 161-173). London: Routledge.

Balbi, G., & Prario, B. (2008). Back to the Future. The Past and the Present of Mobile TV. In G. Goggin & L. Hjorth (Eds.), Mobile Technologies: From Telecommunications to Media (pp. 161-173). London: Routledge.
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  Chapter 14Back to the Future:The Past and Present of Mobile TV Gabriele Balbi and Benedetta PrarioThe aim of this chapter is to illustrate the historical developments of two technologies inthe Italian reality, namely Araldo Telefonico in the first decade of the twentieth century,and Mobile TV in the twentyfirst century! These two media may be somewhat different,on an economic and socialtechnological level, but they also have a common "ey factor#the impossibility of distinguishing between pointtopoint communication and broadcasting! Araldo Telefonico and Mobile TV are two e$amples of the transition fromtelecommunications to mass media! %ven if we will suggest that the telephone had both a pointtopoint and broadcasting nature, fi$ed and mobile telephony were both srcinallytwo typical e$amples of telecommunications# in fact they were tools created and used by people to communicate with each other! &ater, the fi$ed and mobile phone evolved intodifferent forms and especially into two mass media 'Araldo Telefonico and Mobile TV(,often maintaining the same device 'the telephone(, habits and sometimes the sameoperators, too! In fact, tlc operators are now investing in Mobile TV! )urthermore, even if Araldo Telefonico belongs to a different historical period fromMobile TV, it achieved similar forms of media convergence 'telecommunications andeditorial content(, of interactivity and of confusion between the private and public sphere'it was listened to in homes, hotels, bars, etc!(# all features in common with the MobileTV, but conceived between the *I* and ** century! Between me, ou and us ! Circular telephon in "tal The telephone was invented either as a pointtopoint or as a broadcasting medium!Philippe +eis, who coined the term telephone- in the ./01s, didn2t imagine a tool of  personal communication3 instead, his e$periments were conducted with a fairly largeaudience listening to an artist singing in a sealed room! i  %ven Ale$ander Graham Bellsaw the telephone not as a medium for establishing direct communication between anytwo places in the city only, but also as an electrical toy, for broadcasting music-! ii  4o,since its invention, the telephone has not been regarded solely as a persontopersoncommunication medium3 its inventors also tried to spread broadcasting uses- such asnews diffusion, entertainment shows and editorial content! )rom the beginning of itshistory, in the logic and in the possible uses of the telephone, both concepts wereassumed by its inventors and users! This assumption could be validated in many countries and cultures but in this chapter wewill focus specifically on the telephone in the Italian conte$t! In Italy, the telephonearrived at the beginning of the .//1s and was immediately used to transmit entertainmentshows! 5ne of the first official e$periments of longdistance telephony in Italy lin"ed thetelegraph office of Tivoli and the 6uirinale in +ome, it began with the royal anthem, played on a piano in the Tivoli office! Then some pieces by Prati, a tenor romanza , fluteand violin sonatas and a poem followed-! iii    This feature also emerged in an article which appeared in the popular Italian newspaper   L’Illustrazione italiana  on 7anuary 89, .//8, which recalled a peculiar e$periment carriedout by the Gerosa brothers, pioneers of telephony in Milan# from time to time, they played an accordion in the switching room and connected it to all their subscribers, whocould thus hear a sonata iv !:hile the Gerosa brothers2 sporadic surprises could be considered the first steps of Italian broadcasting, from the beginning of the .//1s in other %uropean countries and inthe ;!4!A! these uses of the telephone were institutionali<ed with socalled circular telephony-! The first e$periment of this =novelty= too" place in Paris in .//. during the International%lectric %$hibition! But the most popular e$ample of the Th>?trophone- was launchedand developed in the metropolitan area of Budapest by Theodor Pus"as in ./9@# the socalled Telephone irmond- with over 9,111 subscribers! The system was fairly easy toimplement! Through dedicated electrical circuits, similar to those of the telephone,subscribers could receive a single channel- with daily news and shows from atransmitter! :hen a new =telephone hearing= was organi<ed, the telephone2s ring wasdifferent from the standard one# a few seconds later the show could begin, following anagenda already "nown to those who paid for the service# what today is called a 'radio or TV( schedule! 4o the audience could listen to their favourite programmes peacefullysitting at home and it was the first time in history in which premade entertainment showswere directly aimed at the home! The irmond model was copied in many countries v #from the %nglish %lectrophone- to the American Telephone erald-, from the longlived 4oviet e$ample   to the Italian Araldo Telefonico- 'erald and Araldo are Cuitesimply literal translations of the ungarian irmond-(!In Italy, a previous attempt to formali<e entertainment transmissions through telephonelines was made in .//D, as recalled by  Il telegrafista , a technical Eournal of that timewritten for and read by electrical engineers vi , but a regular telephone broadcasting serviceappeared only around .9.1! :ith a Ministerial Fecree of May 88, .919, an Italianengineer, &uigi +anieri, obtained a grant to create a spea"ing Eournal- in +ome# AraldoTelefonico- was born, inspired by the ungarian model! ;ntil the first years of the war, in fact, the Italian erald copied the irmond schedule#news, various shows and emissions above all from theatres in +ome, popular  programmes such as the weather forecast, foreign language lessons and, especially, thetimesignal that represented a genre in early Italian radiobroadcasting too vii !Besides the abovementioned function modalities, an advertising brochure from the earlytwentieth century underlined the critical distinction between the spea"ing Eournal-service and the telephonic one# in fact, Araldo2s subscribers were not obliged to pay asubscription to the telephone too# the two networ"s were completely independent! Therecould be many reasons for this! )irstly, the limited diffusion of the telephone in Italy# if telephone subscribers were the only ones allowed to receive programmes, there wouldhave been a large number of people who, albeit interested in this service, would have been unable to pay the subscription 'Araldo was much cheaper than the traditionaltelephone(! The Araldo Telefonico- managers probably did not want to relate their technologies to another one that seemed to have diffusion troubles and was owned by therichest people only! 4econdly, there was a technical reason, too# Araldo2s networ" had to be distinguished from the telephone2s one! Telephone networ"s are built to allow one person to communicate with another one3 on the other hand, in Araldo2s networ"s there is  only one subEect that has to communicate, or better, to spread information, to all theothers 'broadcasting(!Before the )irst :orld :ar, service costs were basically of three types! The moste$pensive was the subscription# 1 lire per year '0 per month( for a system installedwithin a "ilometre of the Holonna 4Cuare central bureau! Then, there were two unatantum  'oneoff( costs# the first '.!01 lire( to set up the system and the second '81 lire(to guarantee the technologies! viii  )igures show that in .9. there were .,@.0 subscribersto Araldo in +ome! After the )irst :orld :ar, Milano and Bologna offices were openedand in +ome the Araldo Telefonico-, now directed by &uigi +anieri2s son, slowlytransformed into a radio broadcasting system between .98@ and .98!An emblematic episode for our paper are the law proceedings involving &uigi +anieri!+anieri was a debtor in arrears for a long time and in his defence J and in the Eudicialuncertainties J a peculiarity of the early 81 th  century mentality can be seen# theimpossible distinction between pointtopoint and multicast communication! In an articlethat appeared in the  Rivista delle Comunicazioni  in 7une .9.D 'whose title wassignificant# Araldo does not represent telephonic conversation-(, a +ome lawcourt Eudgment passed down on April .., .9.D says# this pronouncement closed a very longCuarrel between the father of circular telephony and the Government!)or personal and financial reasons, the engineer +anieri could not pay the fees for his business so the Ministry revo"ed the grant with an 5rdinance on )ebruary 81, .9. andthen, on 4eptember 88, it ordered him to interrupt all transmissions! :ith an actionrepeated by the Italian private TV networ"s 1 years later  i$ , and =despite the revocation of the grant and the inEunctions, Araldo telefonico- carried on transmitting abusively! 4i$times the administrative employees interrupted the Araldo service and every time Mr!+anieri restored it= $ ! 5n 7une 0, .9., the Hhief Magistrate in +ome found against Mr! +anieri, but heappealed claiming =the absence of the misdemeanour= $i ! 5n May ./, .9., the HountyHouncil ac"nowledged =the peculiarity of the service and the substantially different aimfrom that of the normal telephone grantees= $ii ! It is useful to remember the motivations of the sentence, mainly where it becomes clear that telephone laws and rules cannot be applied to Araldo! )or the first time, thedistinction between pointtopoint and mass communication is made in law and tout courtin contemporary mentality# Communicating  , actually, is different from transmitting  , because it impliesthe possibility of responding# this is what Araldo, due to its technology,could not do! It transmitted every day, at fi$ed times, political news andmusic collected by +anieri3 it resembled the newspaper rather than thetelephone! Mr! +anieri broadcast the news not through the press, but usingtechnology founded on the principles of telephony# but that system was notthe telephone in the common sense of the word! 4o neither communicationnor telephone! KL the appellant must be absolved from this infringement because his action cannot be considered a crime! In fact, it lac"s one of theessential characteristics for being punishable# the obEective nature of telephone communication, that in the Araldo does not appear! $iii    =Araldo Telefonico= did not follow the principles of use of traditional telephonecommunication so it could not follow its laws! The perception of this distinction appearedin the period .9.1.981 and this is very important# until this moment, in fact, thedissimilarity between interpersonal and broadcasting media could not even be imagined! This is what an Italian historian, Peppino 5rtoleva, underlines about the television idea!;ntil the .981s, this notion had fluctuated between two different concepts too# that of videotelephony 'peertopeer( and TV in the common sense 'broadcasting(# 5nly after .981 could video telephony be thought of as a technology in itsown right, distinct from television! In fact, a conceptual distinction had to beimposed, obvious for us but not at that time# the distinction between pointtopoint and mass communication! In the years .//1.981 audiovisualcommunication was a confused area, but basically unified# the radio was pointtopoint and mass3 the telephone too KL, telephotography too! Itcould be presumed that television would be too! $iv  As shown by +anieri2s legal case, the distinction perceived between personal and broadcasting communication could probably be located around the period .9.0.981!But 5rtoleva2s theory about a confusion of these two concepts 'for the television( iscorroborated also in the case of fi$ed telephony! It must still be remembered that the pleasure telephone- era, as the historian AsaBriggs $v  defined this early period of the technology, ended with the advent of the radio! Infact, from the Twenties a hiatus appeared in the media system# on one side, some media'e!g! the telephone( were definitely associated to pointtopoint communication3 on theother, new media li"e the radio and then TV adopted a mass diffusion model# socalled broadcasting! That distinction was appropriate until the advent and commerciali<ation of a new medium# Mobile TV! #efinitions of Mobile TV: its adoption and suppl 5ver the last ten years digital technology has encouraged rapid growth in the personalconsumption of media! The advent of personal video recorders 'PV+s(, videoondemandand the multiplication of programmes have enabled viewers to personali<e the contentthey want to watch! And, with interactivity, viewers can directly e$press their preferencesto broadcasters $vi ! As part of this trend, and alongside the growth of mobile telephony, =the place of viewing is no longer limited to the television receiver at home, or in a vehicle, but is widened to allow personali<ed viewing of television by individuals wherever theyare located= $vii !4o mobile television means the possibility of viewing traditional television andinteractive programs directly on one2s own mobile! Interactivity is an essential feature of =broadcasting on the move=, because this new TV model is closely related to thetelephone, the preeminently interactive communication medium! Mobile television can be defined as the possibility of watching television programmes on a handheld device and=on the move= J in public transport, waiting for an appointment or while at wor"! The idea of watching television while on the move and not at home is not new! As waswell illustrated by Tref<ger in .9/8 $viii  4ony introduced its first portable television, the:atchman, but unli"e its music peer, the :al"man, it did not have much success!   Nowadays consumers use their mobile phones for multimedia not Eust for communication, but also for entertainment, and for news and information services! :ithyour mobile you can do a whole range of things and today it seems to be the turn of television! Television and the mobile are facilities that most people cannot imagine livingwithout! 5ver the years, a lively scientific debate has attempted to bring media analysis bac" intothe conte$t of people2s everyday lives! )undamental media sociology concepts, li"e domestication  discussed by 4ilverstone $i$ , have been defined in order to give greater importance to processes social subEects use in building their own media e$perience! The more recent sociocultural studies on  Information and Communication Technologies 'IHT( prompt us to adopt new research approaches towards the media and, in particular,towards the new media! An interesting branch of media research has, in the last fewyears, reevaluated the role of the user ' user studies) ! The starting point is the sociologyof technology which generically refers bac" to the Social Shaping of Technology approach! The combination of this approach, the cultural audience and media studies , thesocial history of technology, the sociology of everyday life and the sociology of consumption partially shifts attention from media production to media use andconsumption! In this perspective, the pertinent level for investigating the social uses of the media is not only the level of concrete practices, but also that of the meaningsattributed to the media by people and by the associated individual and socialrepresentations! As shown by e$perience with innovations technology alone is not the only determiningfactor for the success of a product! Above all for products and services developed for consumers, user acceptance is a critical success factor! The first studies on how familiesadopt new products andOor innovative services were conducted by +ogers $$  and Bass $$i , but in recent years many case studies have appeared in the economic literature on theadoption of specific mass media, li"e color television and the video recorder, with theaim of defining a model! In the field of mobile applications the relevance of user acceptance is high, too $$ii ! 4imilarly to +oger2s Fiffusion Theory, it is possible to segment %uropean mobile phoneusers into three clusters#  )anatics )ollowers )ugitives)anatics always use uptodate technology and own the newest handsets! They are "eento try out new products and services and are also interested in the technology behindthem! .Q of mobile users belong to this cluster! )ollowers represent 8Q of the population of users! They appreciate the practicalusefulness of technology and adopt it when they believe it is mature!)ugitives, who prefer easy usability, represent the final 8Q of users! They do not adoptnew technologies until it is absolutely necessary! :ith reference to mobile TV, one can see that for the adoption process it is important toinitially target the segment of innovators and early adopters 'referring to +ogers(3 that is,the )anatics! They are the first to try out new services and they need to be persuaded that
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