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Mobile TV chipmaker Siano sees $50 million upswing with new strategy

Israel-based mobile TV technology company Siano announced at the Reuters Global Media and Technology Summit this past week that trends are changing for mobile TV. Previously, the company has focused a large amount of its efforts on emerging markets such as China, but now it sees increases in Japan, the United States and the automotive market. To look at Siano’s new markets is to see how mobile TV is growing, and growing fast. But Siano has a new strategy that hopes to bypass 4G and ramp up an even bigger market.

Siano is looking at revenue jumping up to $50 million in 2012, which is an increase from $37 last year. The company got its start in 2005 and designs chips to allow mobile devices to receive broadcasts over the air. The dramatic increase in the smartphone market has allowed Siano to ride a technology wave and continue to develop new solutions to current problems.

In Japan, the company is focused on two distinct services that it is continuing to develop — a high-resolution mobile TV phone service as well as a pay TV service headed up by NTT Docomo. It has wide success in China, where its market share is well over 50 percent, and it continues to be the largest source of the company’s income for the past several years.

But branching out into new areas, as well as forging a new strategy, is what will drive the company in the coming years. While the trend is to produce more and more content options for mobile TV users via networks such as LTE/4G, Siano believes that eventually the networks will become over-burdened, causing a cat-and-mouse game of increasing content options and then needing to increase network capacity.

Instead, the company is focused on over-the-air options in its chip technology, citing that operators such as AT&T, China Mobile and NTT Docomo have already chosen to make over-the-air mobile TV a large focus. The company can then refine the capabilities of local broadcast transmission signals connections and pick up stations for free, without feeling the constrained burden of bandwidth caps and fluctuations of network services. The strategy seems to be working as the company’s focus is showing in its bottom line of income generating, showing a growing need for a different type of content consumption.

The shift also ties into its growing automative market; Siano has been working with many companies such as BMW, Audi and Volkswagen. At first, the focus was on luxury cars — high-end options for including over-the-air television on the road. Now the trend has expanded to family cars and a wider spectrum, showing there is a market of those wanting mobile TV options on the road. Automotive options can use local broadcast towers and not the bandwidth challenged networks, allowing a more consistent user experience when people hit the road. Local affiliate and content creators welcome this opportunity to deliver to a wide range of auto screens.

Siano has raised $100 million privately and hopes to go public as the mobile TV market matures and especially as it gains wider acceptance in key markets such as the United States.