The fast-track plan will have a mobile video standard for TV stations in place by the end of this year.
That timetable may sound aggressive, but members of the OMVC say broadcasters have big advantages over other companies trying to get into delivering video to mobile devices. “People are investing billions and billions of dollars in spectrum. We don’t have to invest that much,” said Burgess, who chairs OMVC. Broadcasters also have existing relationships with local advertisers and they already produce content that can be deployed for mobile video. “We know they want live news, weather, traffic and sports,” said Post-Newsweek Stations President Alan Frank of consumer demand for mobile video.
How big is the opportunity? Jim Conschafter, Senior Vice President of Media General Broadcast Group, reported on research that projects $2 billion in ad spending on mobile video by 2012. That’s just ad revenues, and there are also opportunities for pay TV and other revenue-generating services.
There is still work to be done to hit that February 2009 target for deployment, but things are moving fast. Sterling Davis, VP of Engineering Cox Broadcasting, said the standard-setting Advanced Television Systems Committee is working to have the US standard for mobile video broadcasting by television stations adopted by the end of this year. Testing thus far has proven that reception is viable for both VHF and UHF, that signals can be received up to 40 miles from the TV transmitter and that mobile video does not interfere with DTV broadcasting. What’s next? Consumer trials.
Even with a deployment target only 10 months away, Burgess is optimistic that manufacturers will quickly start offering mobile video devices to consumers. He said cell phones and laptop computers are likely to be the first consumer devices in the mobile video rollout.