Mobile DTV Viewers Opt for News Broadcasts

The OMVC (Open Mobile Video Coalition) reports that participants in the Washington, D.C. Mobile DTV Showcase rate the availability of local newscasts high on the list of program choices available via their portable viewing devices.

The trial kicked off in May, and according to information gathered thus far, of the 33 different programming genres available via the small screen, the most popular is local news.

As part of the Mobile DTV trial, 150 D.C.-area Sprint customers were provided with Samsung cell phones that had been specially modified to receive the off-air transmissions. Additional viewing devices in the form of prototype Dell notebooks were distributed to 200 persons in late June. Researchers have been following the viewing habits of this group to determine viewing patterns.

"Mid-term results from the OMVC's Consumer Showcase confirm that people most want to see live, local programming on Mobile DTV,” said Brandon Burgess, ION Media Network’s CEO and also the president of OMVC. “This tracks with a Magid Media Labs survey OMVC sponsored last December that found nearly nine out of 10 consumers said they wanted to see live news and weather programming while on the go. Our hands-on findings in Washington show that local channels will be the anchor for future Mobile DTV services.”

The study also reveals that Mobile DTV adopters are also turning to their portable viewing devices for information during storms and other emergencies affecting public safety. Findings further show that the trial users have indicated they want to keep their small screen sets after the trial period ends.

The OMVC Mobile DTV Consumer Showcase event is continuing through October, and additional viewing devices in the form of LG hybrid portable Mobile DTV receivers/DVD players are also being distributed. Focus groups are scheduled to meet in October to evaluate viewing habits and overall system performance.