US Networks to Launch Free Cellphone Broadcasts

12 January 2009

LAS VEGAS: American broadcasters including ABC, Fox, NBC and CBS are expected to start broadcasting free content direct to cellphones by the end of the year, with consumers in 22 cities across the US set to benefit.

According to broadcast industry body the Open Mobile Video Coalition, a total of 63 channels are likely to start broadcasting to portable devices in the course of 2009.

Other participants are likely to include The CW, ION and PBS, and while the mix of broadcasters will vary by city, most shows are expected to be broadcast simultaneously on mobiles and TV.

Electronics manufacturers LG, Samsung, Zenith and Kenwood are developing mobile receivers which will pick up transmissions, as announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Consumers should be able to watch content while travelling, and OMVC says signals picked up from compliant handsets will enable broadcasters to tell advertisers how many people are using the service.

John Eck president of the NBC TV Network and Media Works, argued the changes are "quite significant" for the industry, and opines: "If we play it right, it can be a compelling service."

Data sourced from USA Today; additional content by WARC staff