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Broadcast companies form group to develop national mobile content service

Belo, Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps, Fox, Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television, ION Television, Media General, Meredith, NBC, Post-Newsweek Stations, and Raycom Media announced plans to form a joint venture to develop a new national mobile content service. Using existing broadcast spectrum, the service will allow member companies to provide content to mobile devices, including live and on-demand video, local and national news from print and electronic sources, and sports and entertainment programming.

Broadcast spectrum for the new mobile service will come from the three owned-and-operated station groups — Fox, NBC and Telemundo, and ION — and the nine local broadcast groups, which are Belo, Cox, E.W. Scripps, Gannett, Hearst, Media General, Meredith, Post Newsweek, and Raycom. Separately, those nine local broadcast companies formed Pearl Mobile DTV Company for their involvement in the venture.

By aggregating existing broadcast spectrum from its launch partners, the new venture will have the capacity to offer mobile video and print content to nearly 150 million U.S. residents. In addition to broadcast spectrum, the partners will commit content, marketing resources, and capital to the new venture. The service will employ ATSC-M/H, an open broadcast transmission system developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) specifically for mobile devices.

The venture is designed to complement the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) National Broadband Initiative by giving consumers mobile access to video content while reducing congestion of the nation's wireless broadband infrastructure. In addition, the service's mobile content network will have the capacity to deliver local and national time-sensitive emergency information to citizens across the U.S.

Mobile TV will get its first widespread deployment when the Open Mobile Video Coalition's Mobile DTV Consumer Showcase begins May 3 in Washington D.C. During the four-month showcase, the OMVC will track usage and viewer response to mobile TV. Nine stations will transmit more than 20 programs during the event.