The UK Media Guardian reports that Sky TV wants to broadcast to mobile phones. Eek! – the mobile operators cry. They are already narrowcasting to their customers and see mobile TV as a major part of their business. But Rupert Murdock’s Sky is a real threat.
Because you see, Sky has a number of advantages. It already owns much of the content, and it owns the right to the UK Football Premiership over mobile for the next 3 years, outbidding the mobile phone companies. Football clips have proved to be some of thew most popular mobile video content. But theres more: Sky’s one to many broadcasting infrastructure is more cost effective way of sending TV signals to mobiles.
The mobile operators are using their many existing radio masts – built for two way communication – to send their video clips to customers phones. But the bandwidth on these masts are shared and relatively small, and not intended for one to many broadcast signals. The result is that the picture quality is low and diminishes the more people are in range of a particular mast.
The 5 UK operators are already seeking permission from the UK regulator, Ofcom, to together build a mobile broadcast networkbased on the DVB-H technology of Nokia. Sky wants to use MediaFLO, a technology owned by US based Qualcom. Some believe that Sky could cut a deal with one of the mobile operators and offer its own Mobile service with superior content.
If ZuluZulu was a mobile operator, he would not be too worried about Sky. Mobile’s are primarily for communicating. And while video over mobile’s definitely will be an increasing phenomena, it is more likely that the bulk of video content will be varied content from the internet-like narrow casting world than the broadbrush TV broadcasting world.