U.S. Local Broadcasters Planning Free Mobile TV Services

Local US broadcasters are planning mobile services that will probably launch after 2009, when the transition to digital TV ends. They’ll probably keep the same business model, transmitting a channel for free and getting revenue from ads — not just the larger audiences but also “mobile ads that let consumers press a button to buy products”, reports USA Today. Prices have not been set, says Brandon Burgess, CEO of TV broadcast company Ion Media Networks and head of the Open Mobile Video Coalition, a group of about 750 broadcasters leading the mobile TV effort.

The stations could charge fees for additional channels that might show local news or weather, or cable staples such as ESPN. This form of mobile TV has the advantage in being a lot cheaper — the stations already have the towers and digital broadcasting equipment in place, they just need the equipment to beam the signal for a smaller screen, and which works at high speeds.