A research report by Magid Media Labs released earlier this month by the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) shows that consumers are interested in receiving television programming on their cell phones and other mobile devices. The cosumers who have particularly strong interest in this type of service are the 18 to 29 year old “Milennials”.
Two of the interesting details of the survey results are that consumers are most interested in getting local news and weather, and that they want live content in addition to on-demand programming.
These findings are important, because there are different forms of mobile TV broadcasting under development. Flo TV is the service currently behind Verizon’s VCast and AT&T’s Mobile TV offerings. The service broadcasts short format programming from major networks that has been edited specially for mobile display. But it’s the same content nationwide. Apparently Flo TV has provisions for “narrowcasting” local programming, but that is a feature that is not offered yet.
It will be complicated for local TV stations to broadcast content to mobile devices. While there is not yet a single accepted standard for how this should be done, some progress is being made. OMVC is backing the Mobile DTV standard, which has been approved by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC). The system relies on bandwidth available to local television broadcasters are part of the frequencies assigned to their channels. At least 30 stations have started to introduce the service, and a trial is scheduled for the Washington DC market in 2010, with at least seven local stations participating.
Mobile television on portable devices is likely to be a hot topic at CES 2010 next month in Las Vegas, and I expect to see a number of new products demonstrated and announced there. I’ll let you know what I find out.