Mobile DTV Meets Another Milestone

What will it take to get a local television station-based mobile DTV service off the ground and running? Leading broadcast groups and networks may just be putting together the alchemy that will breathe life into the monster. Broadcasters across the industry are moving ahead with a rare level of coordination and collaboration.

The Mobile Content Venture with NBCU, FOX, ION and Pearl Mobile DTV (a coalition of nine broadcast TV groups) announced a management team yesterday, albeit a part-time and interim one. Erik Moreno (SVP, Corporate Development, FOX) and Salil Dalvi (SVP, Mobile Platform Development, NBCU) will be co-general managers.

It “takes a village” to raise a mobile television service. The inhabitants are content, spectrum, enabled devices, client software, middleware, metrics and analytics, ad serving software, wireless carrier partnerships, revenue models, broadcast station and network collaboration, etc., etc. That’s just the start. It also takes a vision, risk capital, a business plan and very capable executives and operations team. And of course it will take audiences and advertisers to fuel the whole enterprise. Does the Mobile Content Venture have it all together yet?

Bringing products and services to market is a brutal lifestyle. As companies ranging from FLO TV to VCast, Sprint TV and Mobicast have discovered, there’s no easy path to success in launching and operating a successful mobile television service designed to be consumed on cellphones and other devices. Even when you try to jump-start things by building and operating the whole thing yourself, you can run into snags as FLO TV has discovered. Even using the Super Bowl as bait has still resulted in an obstinate response by consumers.

The Open Mobile Video Coalition’s Washington Consumer Showcase is creating a mobile television community incorporating most of the elements noted above in a research setting to see what this market might look like some form or fashion for local broadcasting. BIA/Kelsey is assisting Harris Interactive with the consumer marketing research aspect of this project. Start looking for results from this important project over the summer and into the fall.

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