The announcement by the Mobile Content Venture that at least 40 NBC and Fox O&Os and affiliates will start broadcasting ad-supported mobile DTV service next year is the first step in moving broadcast TV into what promises to be a revolutionary and profitable future. Now what’s needed is for the networks to work out the copyright issues so that all stations can take all their network programing mobile. And perhaps now, the FCC will start to realize that there are more better ways to serve consumers and more efficient uses for TV spectrum than just handing it all over to broadband.
Led by the Mobile Content Venture, the O&Os and affiliates of the two networks will air at least two ad-supported mobile DTV channels in at least 20 markets by the end of 2011. The effort is aimed at encouraging the manufacture of mobile receivers and sparking consumer demand. MCV would not discuss what the programming will be, but industry sources said it will likely be simulcasts of the stations’ conventional broadcasts. “The good news…is that we are finally getting going,” says MCV’s Eric Moreno.
John Lawson, the former Ion exec, will lead the effort to promote mobile DTV that’s made up of 40 groups that operate more than 400 TV stations.
In an ambitious series of tests organized by the Open Mobile Video Coalition, consumers equipped with special cell phones and portable personal computers capable of receiving over-the-air broadcast TV signals are yielding encouraging results, especially in terms of advertising exposure and recall.
Nexstar CEO Perry Sook says that the new Congress will likely leave broadcasting alone as it tackles issues other than retransmission consent and spectrum reallocation. Broadcasters, he says, should concentrate on developing mobile, a business that he says “may dwarf everything.”