Broadcasters Herald Mobile DTV

Broadcasters, lawmakers and other VIPs in the nation’s capital turned out Monday evening (May 24) to view the first mobile devices capable of picking up over-the-air digital broadcasts. Sponsored by the broadcaster-supported Open Mobile Video Coalition, the event held at the Newseum was an opportunity for the TV industry to show regulators and legislators how mobile digital TV was as much a part of the future of media as broadband.

Within view of the Capitol, broadcasters took the opportunity to defend their spectrum at a time when the Federal Communications Commission would like some of it back in an effort to speed broadband distribution.

“We see the world as broadband and broadcast,” said Gordon Smith, president of the National Association of Broadcasters. “We look forward to using America’s spectrum in the most efficient way possible, ‘one to everyone.'”

For the next four months, nine D.C. area TV stations are broadcasting a mix of local news, select scripted network TV programming, syndicated Talk shows and even music to mobile devices to demonstrate how mobile DTV might be deployed.

As part of the trial, Harris Interactive and Rentrak, through qualitative and quantitative studies, will track consumer interaction with mobile broadcasts, which include interactive consumer voting and polling, interactive content, video on demand, interactive advertising, electronic service guides and emergency alerts.

The four-month “showcase” will also demonstrate the special advertising opportunities that mobile DTV can offer marketers. In July, as part of the Television Bureau of Advertising’s Project Roadblock campaign against drunk driving with the Ad Council, special ads will air across mobile DTV broadcasts. Inventory includes interstitial ads that take over the screen for a few seconds when a viewer changes channels and banner ads on the channel guide screen that link to a Web site.

Broadcasters also reiterated their goal to develop a new national mobile content service, announced last month at the NAB show in Las Vegas.

“We must develop a national service that melds broadband and broadcast,” said Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations. “One to one [Internet] cannot satisfy consumers in terms of scale and real-time information.”