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Mobile500 Alliance will use NAB confab to discuss creating national mobile DTV services and channels 4/11/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

Mobile DTV: Where the Action Is

The NAB show will feature a number of demonstrations of new devices that highlight some of the potential of mobile DTV, with much of the action taking place at the Mobile DTV Pavilion co-hosted by the Advanced Television Systems Committee, the Open Mobile Video Coalition and the National Association of Broadcasters. Both the Mobile500 Alliance and Mobile Content Venture will have a presence at the pavilion.

Considerable progress has been made in recent months in developing the technology for more widespread launches later this year, says Anne Schelle, executive director of OMVC. Schelle notes that Neustar was selected to set up an MDTV Trust that would provide conditional access; additionally, OMVC opened up its membership to device manufacturers.

“There has been a lot of momentum in terms of stations turning on service and from device manufacturers, who will be showcasing a lot of devices at the Mobile Pavilion,” she says.

Mark Richer, president of ATSC, also notes that the mobile DTV standard supports a wide array of applications beyond live mobile broadcasts; many of these applications will be demonstrated at NAB.

These include customizable emergency alerts; live audio feeds; data casting with traffic maps, sports and news highlights delivered as RSS feeds and stored in memory on a device; Video-on-Demand services; electronic coupons; 3D TV; social media; and targeted advertising, Richer says.

LG, for example, will be demonstrating transmissions of 3D images to glasses-free mobile devices, as well as something called “Tweet TV,” which allows users to interact and comment on shows.

“Mobile is absolutely key to the future of broadcasting in my opinion,” Richer says.—GW

A number of stations are planning
to launch mobile DTV services
later this year, and the 2011
NAB Show will see some notable demonstrations
of the technology, along with significant movement on the development of
business plans for mobile channels.

Toward that end, the Mobile500 Alliance
of broadcast groups will meet with its members
to discuss plans to create a nationwide
mobile network.

John Lawson, executive director of the
Mobile500, said the group surveyed its
members several months ago about their
plans to launch mobile DTV services and
concluded that uncertainty about business
models was “the No. 1 reason” why some
stations were holding back on launching
mobile broadcasts.

To help overcome that hurdle, the Mobile500’
s executive committee has been
meeting in recent months with a number
of companies and potential partners. “We
ended up agreeing to work with one group
that we really felt could bring strategic partners
and equity investors together to create
an end-to-end mobile DTV network for the
U.S.,” Lawson says. The committee will be
discussing that plan with members and potential
strategic partners at NAB.

At press time, details of what content
might be available on a national network
was sketchy, but it appears the group will
consider multiple channels of national and
local content. The line-up might include
at least four free channels on a basic tier,
some premium subscription services and
possibly VOD service delivered over wireless
broadband.

For the moment, the Mobile500 does not
have agreements with national broadcast
networks to carry their programming. Although
the group is hoping to bring broadcast
networks on board, they also seem
to be examining the potential of carrying
content from cable programmers and other
suppliers.

Various research studies have found that
younger Hispanics and other immigrant
groups are heavy users of mobile video,
and the Mobile500 is also eyeing appropriate
targeted content as well.

The Mobile Content Venture and the
Mobile500 consortia of broadcasters have
announced plans to launch services in at
least 40% to 50% of the country this year.
Several large station groups, including ABC
and CBS owned-and-operated stations,
have been taking a wait-and-see attitude
toward deployment.

Any announcement detailing what content
would be available could help convince
both device manufacturers and stations to
adopt mobile DTV.

Meanwhile, the Mobile Content Venture
has gotten agreements from Fox and NBC,
which are members of the group, to use
their content, and they plan to launch services
with a mix of national network and
local programming later this year in 20
markets covering 40% of the country, says
Salil Dalvi, co-general manager of MCV and
senior VP at NBCUniversal Digital Distribution.

Dalvi notes that the organization has
been working with its member stations to
prepare for the launch of mobile DTV services
and with MobiTV to develop the user
interface and program guide for the service.

The group declined to discuss details of
its programming offering beyond the fact
that it will include both national broadcast
and local content and that live TV will be
an important component.

“Three-quarters of all viewing is still live
TV, and we have a platform that is unparalleled
in its ability to delivery live TV,” Dalvi
says.

Both Dalvi and Erik Moreno, co-general
manager of MCV and senior VP of Fox
Networks Group, also stressed that they
had been working closely with Mobile500,
the Open Mobile Video Coalition and the
Advanced Television Systems Committee
(ATSC) on mobile technologies.

“The industry is united” on using the
same ATSC technology standard and on the
need for conditional access to protect content
and “give us " exibility with the business
model down the road” to launch paid
services, Moreno says. This will provide the
basis for rapid adoption by stations, vendors
and device manufacturers, he adds.

They also expect the player they are developing
for mobile services would be able
to handle any additional content created
by the Mobile500 group, and that this additional
content might actually boost consumer
interest. “Both efforts go hand-inhand,
and we continue to work with them
very closely,” Dalvi says.

E-mail comments to
gpwin@oregoncoast.com

Mobile DTV: Where the Action Is

The NAB show will feature a number of demonstrations of new devices that highlight some of the potential of mobile DTV, with much of the action taking place at the Mobile DTV Pavilion co-hosted by the Advanced Television Systems Committee, the Open Mobile Video Coalition and the National Association of Broadcasters. Both the Mobile500 Alliance and Mobile Content Venture will have a presence at the pavilion.

Considerable progress has been made in recent months in developing the technology for more widespread launches later this year, says Anne Schelle, executive director of OMVC. Schelle notes that Neustar was selected to set up an MDTV Trust that would provide conditional access; additionally, OMVC opened up its membership to device manufacturers.

“There has been a lot of momentum in terms of stations turning on service and from device manufacturers, who will be showcasing a lot of devices at the Mobile Pavilion,” she says.

Mark Richer, president of ATSC, also notes that the mobile DTV standard supports a wide array of applications beyond live mobile broadcasts; many of these applications will be demonstrated at NAB.

These include customizable emergency alerts; live audio feeds; data casting with traffic maps, sports and news highlights delivered as RSS feeds and stored in memory on a device; Video-on-Demand services; electronic coupons; 3D TV; social media; and targeted advertising, Richer says.

LG, for example, will be demonstrating transmissions of 3D images to glasses-free mobile devices, as well as something called “Tweet TV,” which allows users to interact and comment on shows.

“Mobile is absolutely key to the future of broadcasting in my opinion,” Richer says.—GW

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