LETTER TO THE EDITOR FROM JOHN LAWSON

Mobile DTV Groups Have Much In Common

The Mobile500 Alliance executive director says that TVNewsCheck’s Jan. 20 story on the Mobile500 Alliance’s “statement of principles” may have" created for some the impression of a level of discord between the Mobile500 Alliance and the Mobile Content Venture that doesn’t exist."

We appreciate TVNewsCheck’s coverage of the television broadcasting industry in general and Mobile DTV in particular. And it’s hard to argue with Editor Harry Jessell’s “tough love” advice for the industry in his laser-targeted “Jessell-At-Large” columns. Given the many sources that he has cultivated over the years, it was not surprising that Harry learned about the Mobile500 Alliance’s work to develop a “statement of principles” for the emerging MDTV industry and contacted me for comment.

Harry’s story, however, (“Mobile DTV ‘Manifesto’ Urges Openness”), may have created for some the impression of a level of discord between the Mobile500 Alliance and the Mobile Content Venture that doesn’t exist. The story focused on some key issues yet to be resolved, but it overlooked some fundamental areas of agreement. In fact, some of the terms in our “Proposed Statement of Principles” that Mobile500 distributed to our members for comment came directly from MCV in an earlier draft.

At the top of the list is agreement that all content, even free content, should be protected by conditional access and that any conditional access system be software- and standards-based. That both consortia plan to launch mobile DTV with a basic tier of free, advertising-support content is also a huge step forward. Other issues, like creating a next-gen emergency alert system for the nation, are ideas that excite both parties but just need time to develop.

There are real business issues that both parties need to work through, for sure, and TVNewsCheck identified them. But many are not “us” vs. “them” issues. One example is the Mobile500 goal that local broadcasters retain shared ownership of audience measurement data that comes off mobile devices, even if that data travels on a mobile carrier network. And consumer electronics companies that are on the fence about building MDTV devices want clarity that all broadcasters and networks support device apps and interfaces that will tune in the widest range of content from the largest number of broadcasters. All of us have a stake in convincing manufactures to make product.

There continue to be open and productive discussions on these and other business and technology issues between Mobile500 and MCV. We respect MCV and applaud their progress, and we’ve said so publicly. Both entities are also happy to work through the trusted Open Mobile Video Coalition to resolve technical issues. I am confident that we will continue to work amicably, if separately, toward our common goal of creating a vibrant new growth industry in the United States.

John M. Lawson, executive director, Mobile500 Alliance

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Comments (1)

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Teal Gennaro says:

January 27, 2011 at 12:24 pm

If the two groups have so much in common and get along so well, can you explain why there are two groups rather than one? This thing should have been off the ground a lonmg time ago.


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