Local News, Info Are Mobile DTV's Big Draws
Commuting TV, 'stealth viewing' among uses found for proposed new service
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/14/2010 12:31:52 PM
That is according to the 150 Sprint customers who turned in their phones for specially modified Samsung Moment phones to tune into D.C. area TV stations testing the service, which broadcasters hope will give them a piece of the mobile video market.
Viewing by the test group turned out to be heaviest during the work week, and includes "stealth viewing" says Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) Executive Director Anne Schelle, who cited a soap watcher on her lunch break and a woman whose child's school event was sufficiently boring that she opted for TV instead.
She said that most of the viewing appeared to be additive, with folks extending their in-home viewing out of home, say, while on the morning commute, or waiting in line at the grocery store. She also said that emergency information was a key draw, citing spikes in use during the recent Discovery Channel standoff in nearby Silver Spring, Md.
OMVC President and Ion Media CEO Brandon Burgess said in announcing the midterm feedback from the sample group that it indicates that live local programming is what viewers want most, which is the result broadcasters are looking for since it separates their service from video services already offered on smart phones.
The service is also being tested on netbooks and LG DVD players through Oct. 30, bringing the total test group to about 350.
The Samsung Moment part of the test is over, and Schelle says the users were reluctant to give up their phones with the DTV tuner chips.
The test was primarily about getting feedback to show advertisers and others how people would use mobile TV service, rather than about the technology, which is definitely a beta test and work in progress, Schelle suggested.
OMVC's finding seemed to square with a just-released Pew research study showing that local TV is still the news source of choice for a majority of Americans.
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