News Roundup: Announcements From The Mobile Video Industry

There’s been a lot of announcements in the mobile video space over the past two weeks, and these are some of the more interesting I’ve been reading up on:

  • Last Friday, news outlets were reporting that Virgin Mobile was closing its U.K. Mobile TV service. This really comes as no surprise considering the service was based on the DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcast) standard and not the DVB-H standard as well as Virgin Mobile only being able to sell 10,000 handsets capable of getting the content.
  • Two weeks ago, The European Union announced
    that it was backing DVB-H as the mobile TV standard  across Europe. The
    EU’s Commissioner is quoted as saying, "We can either take the lead
    globally – as we did for mobile telephony based on the GSM standard
    developed by the European industry – or allow other regions to take the
    lion’s share of the promised mobile TV market. Wait-and-see is not an
    option. The time has come for Europe’s industry and governments to
    switch on to mobile TV." If only it was that easy in the U.S.
  • Last week, the Open Mobile Video Coalition, an association looking to accelerate development of mobile digital broadcast TV in the U.S., announced that it had doubled its membership with the addition of nine new broadcast groups. The group has established a time line that calls for parallel development of standards, devices and business models with the goal of a 2009 launch.
  • Transpera, a platform that provides online video publishers with an easy way for consumer to create, share and re-purpose video, confirmed last week that it has raised a first-round of venture capital from First Round Capital, IDG Ventures, and Intel Capital.
  • Last week, A&E announced that MobiTV has added two new A&E mobile video channels to its lineup bringing A&E’s channel count on MobiTV to nine.
  • Telephia Inc., which was acquired by Nielsen last month, released new data last week on the size and adoption of the mobile television and video subscription business. From the release: Mobile television and video subscription revenues grew 198% year-over-year to $146 million in the first quarter of 2007. Approximately 8.4 million wireless customers now subscribe to some form of mobile video, representing nearly 4% of all U.S. mobile subscribers. While those numbers seem high to me, Telephia says that it collects its data from Telephia’s panel of 35,000 mobile subscribers.
  • ESPN, MediaFLO and Verizon announced they have teamed up to offer live coverage of the X Games 13 event for V CAST Mobile TV. Eight hours of live footage will be provided during the days of the event along with on-demand content. No one has a phone with a battery that will last for 8 hours, so I know they don’t expect users to tune into it for the duration, but I’d be interested to hear what the average length of time is spent watching it live.
  • Last week, AT&T announced a new service named "Video Share" that allows users to share one-way streaming video. While the announcement seemed to get a lot of coverage in the media many don’t highlight the barriers to this AT&T offering. The service only works on their limited 3G network and currently only with four models of Samsung and LG video capable handsets. And there is a monthly video premium consumers need to pay to use this.
  • Last week, Harmonic Agreed to Acquire Rhozet, a privately-held company that offers software-based universal transcoding solutions that facilitate the creation of multi-format video for Internet, mobile and broadcast applications for $15.5 million. Harmonic says the acquisition will position them as a leader in Internet and mobile video creation space.
  • Based on data released last week, Frost & Sullivan announced that leading U.S. mobile operators have started to embrace mobile advertising and said that mobile advertising is likely to be used to subsidize the cost of content production and lower the cost of service usage. That’s a pretty bold statement. To date, online advertising via the PC has not subsidized many content models let along content models for mobile which are still in their infancy.