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Network TV and Open Mobile Video Coalition

Last month, nine of the largest U.S. television broadcast groups announced the launch of the "Open Mobile Video Coalition," an industry alliance to accelerate the development of mobile digital broadcast television.

The broadcasters jointly announcing the Coalition included Belo Corp., Fox Television Stations, Gannett Broadcasting, Gray Television, ION Media Networks, the NBC & Telemundo Television Stations, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Broadcasting Company. These companies collectively represent over 280 television stations in the U.S., covering 95 million households, including 49 of the top 50 markets nationwide.

The group's membership is expected to grow, and they anticipate working closely with the Advanced Technology Advocacy Committee of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). The Coalition invited all U.S. based broadcasters to join in driving key initiatives viewed as central to realizing the full potential of the digital broadcast television spectrum in the United States.

A number of new technologies have been identified that enable reception of digital broadcast television (DTV) signals in portable and mobile environments. When commercialized, these new technologies will enable TV broadcasters to use their existing DTV spectrum and their networks to reach consumers anywhere, both in and out of the home.

The Coalition's charter will include:

- Serving as a forum for members and participating affiliates regarding product requirements and technology specifications related to mobile digital broadcast television.

- Promoting the development of products, services and standards enabling mobile digital broadcast television.

- Educating broadcasters, technology developers, consumers and regulators about the value, benefits and applications of mobile digital broadcasting.

The Coalition's work will include promoting development of industry technical standards; defining technical objectives and requirements of broadcasters, equipment manufacturers, service operators, content developers and consumers; accelerating the development of new technology, solutions and content; driving regulatory support and promoting consumer adoption of mobile digital broadcast television.

Membership in the coalition is open to all U.S.-based television broadcasters, but there was no mention of other potential mobile video service providers. Clearly, the Coalition was formed in response to U.S. mobile phone service providers ongoing plans to enter the video entertainment industry. However, it's not clear to me if the Coalition's formation is intended to be a preemptive move, in an attempt to gain control of this slowly emerging opportunity.

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