Betting on Mobile TV Chips

There are two schools of thought on television over mobile devices including cell phones – yay or nay! Nokia, Qualcomm, and others are in the “yay” camp. Add Newport Media’s backers to that list of optimists.
The Lake Forest, Calif.-based company recently raised $25 million in Series B funding from a group of investors led by Oak Investment Partners. Previous investors, Benchmark Capital, Venrock Associates, Global Catalyst Partners and Pinnacle Ventures, also invested in the company. Newport Media has so far raised a total of over $36 million.

Newport Media is making a system on a chip, that supports most major mobile TV standards – Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld (DVB-H), Digital Multimedia Broadcast (DMB), Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) and MediaFLO.

I feel that if right content such as short news clips, special mobisodes and sports clips – are piped over the air to your cell phone to break the monotony of the day, Mobile TV will work. I wrote about this trend back in July 2005 for Business 2.0 and how it is a big opportunity for entrepreneurs.

I agree with the naysayers that one has to watch and see how this trend plays out. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that skeptics might be wrong. The sizzling growth of MobiTV is proof that many are willing to pay for those kind of services. (It has about 500,000 subscribers who pay about $10 a month. If only 25% of that comes to MobiTV after paying off the carriers and the content providers, the company is bringing in about $1.25 million a month or $15 million a year. )

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