[opendtv] Re: Hurdles still loom as TV stations start mobile field trials

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2008 09:34:44 -0500

At 7:51 AM -0800 1/15/08, John Willkie wrote:

You were once "so hot" for fee-based mobile video.  I recall trying to
convince you and a few others that aside from live sports, the market was


Can you find even one of my posts over the last decade where I suggested that FEE BASED services would be successful?

I think not.

You pointed up mobile video in cars.  I pointed out that's a back seat
audience, and there are few cars in use with occupied back seats.

Mobile video is already a huge market - but it is based almost exclusively on DVD playback. There are a growing number of cars being outfitted for tailgate parties that use off-air signals, both analog and digital. I stand behind the idea that DTV broadcasts to vehicles will be a viable market; but not as a subscription service.

I'm still very skeptical of mobile video, and even more so of fee-based
mobile video.  I'll let you know when I hear from the first prospect in the
U.S. who inquires about "conditional access" in PSI/PSIP generation, since
that's a pre-requisite for fee-based services.  There is virtually zero U.S.
broadcaster interest in this technology at this point, by the way.

I believe that there is considerable interest among broadcasters in MHP video services, but only if they can generate additional revenue streams to support it. Sort of a Catch 22 situation in my opinion, as the recovered 700 Mhz spectrum will be used to provide the ability for mobile devices to download the content they want rather than subscribing to a video service. For broadcasters to succeed in this market they will need to re-thing the entire business strategy. Could happen...

I will say, as I have in the past, that broadcasters are in the best
position to make mobile TV work.  The issue is whether one wants to give up
half their transport stream for it.  I had a good laugh about the A-VSB
system providing 6 mobile channels.  (and, with the other half of the
transport stream, or is it the other 1/4, we'll offer ....")

During the day this is not an issue, as cable gets more than 70% market share during the day parts. But the type of content that is offered will be critical - if broadcasters think in terms of channels, rather than services, they will fail miserably.

Very funny speculation about the rights needing to be renegotiated, folks.
That comes down to contract language, and I 'spec that the buyers (networks)
had a better understanding of the realities when the language was negotiated
than did the rights holders.  I suspect that they didn't constrain their
rights to just one form of digital modulation.   Seems to me that all the
systems being tested travel over 8-VSB, instead of supplanting it.

This is directly tied to the type of service that broadcasters deliver. If it is simply an extension of the existing advertiser supported model I don't believe the content owners can convince anyone that they should pay for an "existing" market segment (Sony Watchmen do exist). If it is a new model where stations are providing downloads for a fee, then the content owners will want a cut.


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