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TV Groups Form Mobile Joint Venture

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A dozen of the nation's largest TV groups (representing 173 stations) have formed a joint venture to develop a national mobile content service. Using the digital spectrum, the as-yet-unnamed venture intends to provide content to mobile devices, including live and on-demand video; local and national news; and sports and entertainment programming.

The initiative is designed to complement the Federal Communications Commission's National Broadband Plan, giving consumers access to mobile content through efficient use of the nation's wireless broadband infrastructure.

The joint venture was announced yesterday at the National Association of Broadcasters annual convention in Las Vegas.

The spectrum for the service will come from the three participating owned-and-operated station groups -- Fox, NBC and Telemundo -- as well as Ion and the nine local broadcast groups that late last year formed Pearl Mobile DTV to develop mobile broadband services. (Other members of Pearl include Belo, Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps, Gannett, Hearst TV, Media General, Meredith Local Media Group, Post-Newsweek Stations and Raycom Media.)

By aggregating existing spectrum, the new venture will be able to offer mobile video and print content to nearly 150 million mobile users.

"This initiative offers a path for the next generation of video consumption and will help the FCC with its goal of ensuring efficient and reliable broadband service for U.S. consumers," said John Wallace, president of NBC Local Media.

Meanwhile, nine TV stations in Washington, D.C., are set to showcase mobile DTV capabilities in a market-wide launch set for May 3. The content that will be broadcast to mobile devices include more than 20 programs, network and cable programming and local news.

"The consumer showcase is a truly exciting demonstration of the types of services that broadcasters will deploy across the country in the next few years, bringing a new era of television to the U.S.,” said Brandon Burgess, CEO of Ion and chairman of the Open Mobile Video Coalition.