A dozen broadcasters plan to launch mobile television services in 20 major markets next year, the joint venture representing the group said today.
The Mobile Content Venture (MCV) says the mobile television deployment will cover more than 40 percent of the U.S. population by “late 2011,” with at least two free, ad-supported channels per market.
Service will be offered in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Detroit, Tampa, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Orlando, Portland, Cincinnati, Greenville, West Palm Beach, Birmingham and Knoxville. The MCV expects to add new channels and markets over time.
Erik Moreno, co-general manger of the MCV, called the launches a “significant and necessary step in building a viable commercial mobile TV business.” The group will release specifics on programming and its business plan at a later date.
The MCV is also working with manufacturers to make devices capable of receiving ATSC-based mobile broadcast signals, the standard used in the United States for mobile television transmissions. The group said its efforts should ensure that ATSC-embedded devices are available by the second half of next year.
Anne Schelle, executive director of mobile television industry group the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), called the planned deployments a “vital next step” for the U.S. mobile television industry.
“MCV’s plans clearly show their intent to initiate Mobile DTV service in markets throughout the country,” Schelle said in a statement. “ After years of refining the Mobile DTV standard, perfecting the technological aspects of the service and learning what consumers want to see on Mobile DTV, the industry is ready to provide a true Mobile DTV service.”
The MCV was formed last spring by Fox, ION Television, NBC and the nine members of Pearl Mobile DTV, which is comprised of Belo, Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps, Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television, Media General, Meredith, Post-Newsweek Stations and Raycom Media.