02.04.2008 08:59 AM
NAB says mobile DTV could generate $2 billion in new revenue

The National Association of Broadcasters said that TV stations delivering content to mobile and handheld devices could generate as much as $2 billion in annual revenue by 2012, providing an industry standard is adopted and technology deployed quickly.

The group commissioned a study as part of an initiative called FASTROAD (Flexible Advanced Services for Television & Radio On All Devices). The stated mission is to seek and facilitate the development and commercialization of new technologies that can be exploited by broadcasters using radio and television broadcast spectrum.

The report states that the success of new mobile DTV services in the United States will be most successful if a standard is approved by the Advanced Television Standards Committee by early 2009 and universally adopted. That’s when most commercial stations are mandated by the FCC to shut off their analog signal and move to the digital spectrum.

“Delaying adoption of the standard will dramatically impact the revenue potential for both local and network broadcasters in a negative way,” the report concludes. The “Study of the Impact of Multiple Systems for Mobile/Handheld Digital Television” was put together by the employees of the BIA Financial Network, with support from Law and Economics Consulting Group (LECG).

Assuming early adoption of a common mobile standard, the report estimates $2 billion in additional revenue would be shared between local stations (approximately $1.1 billion), TV networks and syndicators (approximately $900 million). Revenue opportunities will come in the form of new advertising vehicles, monetizing over-the-air programming on pay mobile platforms, and partnerships with cell phone and other mobile delivery device providers, the report concludes.

Several new technologies have been proposed that would enable U.S. broadcasters to transmit DTV signals that could be received by mobile and handheld devices such as cell phones, portable video players and TV screens in automobiles. The Open Mobile Video Coalition, an alliance of numerous U.S. commercial and public broadcasters, announced its commitment to the development of mobile DTV in April 2007, and the ATSC has an accelerated program underway to standardize the system for mobile broadcasting.

The full text of the report and information on the NAB FASTROAD technology advocacy program are available at www.NABFASTROAD.org/.

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