Tapping mobile DTV viewers

Is your station planning to tap into the 77 million household audience by providing mobile television programming? In a press release, Anne Schelle, executive director of the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) said, “OMVC continues to track the progress made by broadcasters who are turning on mobile DTV. The numbers of broadcasters on-the-air with mobile continues to rise, with 76 stations now on the air in 32 markets ... Between those stations already on-air and those who are coming soon, we project that mobile DTV will reach more than 77 million households — or more than two-thirds of all viewers in America – in the next twelve months.”

The coalition released the report at the January CES conclave in Las Vegas. The report reviewed the results of a 2010 Washington, D.C., area test of digital mobile television delivered by OTA broadcasters. The test involved approximately 345 viewers in the D.C. area. Almost 200 participants watched MDTV on Dell Netbooks. Another 148 watched MDTV on specially-equipped Samsung Moment phones. The study ran from May through September 2010.

Key insights from the research:

• Participants watched mobile DTV in a variety of locations: work, car, errands and home.

• They watched more than 30 different genres of programming, with local news being highly valued.

• Usage appears to be incremental to traditional TV.

• High usage was seen in daytime, with usage peaks in the afternoon.

• Location use is somewhat device-dependent. Mobile phones are more likely to be viewed outside the home, less so for Netbooks. Eighty-five percent of the Netbook-enabled participants watched MDTV at home; only 27 percent used Netbooks on the go.

• Conversely, 70 percent of cell-phone-equipped MDTV participants watched mobile programming on the go, but only 28 percent used those same devices while at home.

• The study revealed that viewers were interested in a converged experience that enables both live and recorded content.

• Sixty percent said they would be “very” or “somewhat” likely to watch MDTV on a mobile device if the content were free.

• Forty-nine percent said they would subscribe to MDTV if it required a monthly subscription.

The study showed that local news is attractive to the audience. Participants said that while they may go "online" for news, local news via MDTV was the most-viewed content type. The next most popular genre was entertainment news/documentary, followed by reality and political news.

The survey said that potential viewers considered local programming as essential for Mobile DTV. In addition, live, local content was a great differentiator from other mobile video services may be available. During emergencies and “need to know” situations, survey participants turned to MDTV.

For those broadcasters concerned about MDTV cannibalizing their OTA viewership, it didn’t happen. Ninety-four percent of survey participants said their overall TV consumption increased or stayed the same even when they had access to mobile DTV.

Broadcast Engineering can help

This early research shows there may be little downside in launching an MDTV service.

For stations to get access to their share of those 77 million households, broadcasters need to soon begin transmitting mobile television. To help with that transition, Broadcast Engineering magazine, in partnership with OMVC, is hosting a tutorial and conference on MDTV on June 28 in New York City.

The conference will bring together high-level experts providing practical technical and business answers to broadcasters’ questions. Here is a brief list of topics and presenters:

Opening session: What is the market for mobile DTV?

Attendees learn about new research results, early outcomes, audience expectations and business models for MDTV.

Presenter: Anne Schelle, executive director, Open Mobile Video Coalition

Session 2: Mobile DTV system implementation

This session looks at the transmission side of MDTV with a review of needed equipment and installation issues. Also covered will be maximizing QoS and minimizing CAPEX. The session concludes with an MDTV case study.

Presenter: Jay Adrick, VP broadcast technology, Harris

Presenter: Jim Kutzner, chief engineer, PBS

Presenter: Brett Jenkins, VP of technology, ION Media

Session 3: Conditional access

Research shows that premium programming is highly valued. This session reviews the steps required to implement controlled-access programming. You will learn about: The mobile DTV trust authority, how to get keys? How to manage conditional access keys?

Presenter: Timothy Goodall, regional sales director, Nagra

Session 4: Mobile DTV RF and transmission considerations – Part One

Attendees learn about the crucial RF link. A tutorial on single-frequency networks and repeaters; antenna polarization and UHF vs. VHF quality of service considerations will be presented.

Presenter: John Schadler, SPX Communications (formerly Dielectric Communications)

Presenter: Dave Benco, Rohde & Schwarz

Session 5: Understanding and implementing electronic service guides

Broadcasters who want to offer compelling mobile DTV content need a clear understanding of the role that the electronic service guide technology (ESG) plays and how to successfully implement this feature. The session will show you how ESG technology can enhance a viewer’s MDTV experience by enabling a variety of advanced services.

Presenter: Rich Chernock, CTO, Triveni Digital

Presenter: Peter Mataga, CTO, Roundbox

Session 6: Mobile DTV RF and transmission considerations – Part Two

Continuing coverage on RF technology, this session focuses on a new mobile DTV propagation model. Consultants review this RF prediction model for mobile DTV and how it can be used to optimize the consumer experience.

Presenter: Charles Cooper, consulting engineer, DuTreil, Lundin & Rackley

Presenter: Victor Tawil, senior VP MSTV

With the growing consumer appetite for mobile entertainment, broadcasters should consider implementing MDTV now. This important seminar will increase your understanding of the myriad of technical details that must be considered as you bring MDTV to your audience. Attendees will return home with a better understanding of the issues and possible solutions.

This one-day training seminar is designed to equip broadcast engineers and technical managers with the critical information they need to make their station’s mobile DTV deployment a success.

By the way, did I mention some lucky attendee will win a free iPad?

For more information on attending this important seminar, visit the Broadcast Engineering website.