TV station owners, reeling from the loss of ad revenue and looking for ways to stay competitive, appear ready to make a major investment in mobile, digital TV. According to MediaPost.com, major broadcast groups including FOX, NBC, Gannett, Scripps, Belo, Sinclair and LIN will employ a new mobile DTV system to transmit station signals directly to mobile phones and other devices. Initial markets for the system, which could begin a rollout in 2009, include New York, Philadelphia, Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, Chicago and Miami.
“TV stations view this project as a salvation of sorts for their flagging business, especially as their customers move away from traditional TV platforms,” reports MediaPost’s Wayne Friedman at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The service as described at CES would be free to viewers, ad-supported, and would not rely on mobile carriers for transmission. Friedman says “TV executives talked a lot about weather emergencies, when consumers, say without power in their homes during a hurricane, would still be able to get local news and weather information.”
So is this what station owners are doing with all those anchor and reporter salaries they’ve been cutting?