Arguments Over Business Model Delays French Mobile TV

A disagreement between broadcasters and mobile operators over the appropriate business model for mobile TV has delayed the launch of DVB-H services in France, reports ScreenDigest. Broadcasters want an ad-funded free-to-air service while operators want the service to be paid for, and discussions between the parties have reportedly stalled. ScreenDigest said the service was intended to be launched before the Rugby World Cup in the second half of this year, but has now been pushed back to 2008. A competing service (I think it’s a different service) has received 50 million euros in funding from the French government, and uses Alcatel’s DVB-SH service.

The important part of this report is the reason for the delay. The industry and media have spent the last few years focusing on the technology behind mobile broadcast TV, and whether the networks and handsets could provide a decent quality of service. Now that problem is sorted out a new one has shown up — the business model. It’s not just whether the service should be ad-supported or fee-based (or a mixture of the two), in April the Finnish DVB-H effort was delayed because of arguments over copyright payments.