New York - Mobile Content Venture (MCV), a joint venture of 12 major broadcasters, said Friday that TV stations in 20 designated market areas (DMAs) have committed to upgrade to deliver live video to portable devices.
Mobile video services will be offered by late 2011 in markets representing more than 40 percent of the U.S., the group said.
Service will initially include "at least two ad-supported free-to-consumer channels in each market. Additional channels and markets are expected to be added over time," according to an MCV statement.
Markets expected to be served include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Detroit, Tampa, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Orlando, Portland, Cincinnati, Greenville, West Palm Beach, Birmingham, and Knoxville.
The MCV is a joint venture that includes Fox, Ion Television, NBC and Pearl Mobile DTV. The Pearl member companies include Belo., Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps, Gannett Broadcasting, Hearst Television, Media General, Meredith, Post-Newsweek Stations and Raycom Media.
MCV aims to be the catalyst for a new national mobile video service that utilizes existing broadcast spectrum to enable member companies to deliver content to mobile devices, including live and on-demand video, such as sports and entertainment programming, as well as local and national news from print and electronic sources.
"Live, local video will ultimately be a key part of mobile services," said Salil Dalvi, co-GM of MCV. "Upgrading our stations for mobile is an important first step in making this a reality."
"Our commitment to launch in 20 markets, including 13 of the top 15 DMAs, is a significant and necessary step in building a viable commercial mobile TV business that delivers a comprehensive product to viewers," added Erik Moreno, co-GM of MCV. "We welcome the opportunity to work with Fox and NBC affiliates, as well as additional broadcasters, in rolling out many more markets."
In order to receive the mobile video service, consumers will need a device capable of receiving a specific type of mobile video broadcast, encrypted with conditional access.
MCV said it is working with various OEMs and device manufacturers to ensure these devices are available in the second half of 2011.
According to the market research firm In-Stat, the U.S. mobile DTV sector should see significant growth over the next few years, with more than 30 million ATSC Mobile DTV devices expected to be deployed by 2014.
MCV's mobile video service complements the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) National Broadband Initiative.
MCV offers consumers access to mobile video content by utilizing existing broadcast spectrum from its launch partners for a range mobile video content including sports, entertainment and news.
The technology being deployed by MCV will permit all broadcasters, in a scalable manner, to deliver video content in a spectrally efficient manner as compared to wireless 3G and 4G technology.
Additional markets, content and device partners are expected to be announced in the upcoming months.