Twelve major TV groups to aggregate spectrum, cooperate on content for mobile DTV

A dozen major TV broadcast groups announced April 13 plans to launch a joint venture to develop a new national mobile content service.

The companies, which include Belo, Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps, Fox, Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television, ION Television, Media General, Meredith, NBC, Post-Newsweek Stations and Raycom Media, will provide broadcast spectrum for the new mobile service. The stand-alone joint venture will provide live and on-demand video, local and national news from print and electronic sources, as well as sports and entertainment programming to mobile DTV receivers.

By aggregating existing broadcast spectrum from its launch partners, the new venture will have the ability 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 the ATSC-M/H transmission system.

The nine local broadcast groups, including Belo, Cox, E.W. Scripps, Gannett, Hearst, Media General, Meredith, Post-Newsweek and Raycom, separately formed Pearl Mobile DTV as a vehicle for their involvement in the venture.

"Local broadcasters are the backbone of the U.S. media industry,” said David Barrett, president and CEO of Hearst Television in a press statement announcing the venture. “This sharing of content, broadcast spectrum, marketing resources and capital is unprecedented and underscores U.S. broadcasters' commitment to bringing vital local news, weather and emergency information to increasingly mobile U.S. consumers.”

No information was immediately available on the management structure of the new company.