Key point from NBC U chief digital officer George Kliavkoff, who spoke at the CTIA wireless industry conference last night in Las Vegas: Mobile TV is at its infancy and NBC has plenty of options.
Like what? One potential move: Creating a ‘destination’-type “Hulu for mobile” site with News Corp. (NWS) or other studios: “The concept of putting multiple partners together to create a good destination on mobile devices is something we are interested in, but who knows if that would be under the Hulu brand or not – that’s total speculation,” he said, according to mocoNews.
This is tricky but doable. The challenges here: Getting video to work on hundreds of types of phones at a level of quality that’s acceptable. (Easier now that fast, “3G” wireless networks are common in the U.S.) Selling enough ads to bankroll the service — subscription services haven’t done well. And dealing with pissed-off mobile carriers, whose subscribers would be using a lot of bandwidth to download video that’s competing with their own mobile TV offerings.
A second Kliavkoff theory seems like more of a stretch: Using the wireless spectrum NBC and Telemundo own to create their own mobile TV service. This would free up some of NBC’s reliance on carriers — they’d be able to use their own airwaves and bandwidth to push video to subscribers. But not really: Any technology that NBC wanted to use to transmit video to mobile phones and gadgets would need to be built into mobile phones and gadgets. And the vast majority of phones in the U.S. are sold to consumers by carriers.
So how would this happen? “Most likely, it would be done with the help of a partner, [Kliavkoff] added,” mocoNews paraphrases. That could mean a lot of things: A deal with an infrastructure company, or even a carrier, to build out and manage the service. Or less likely, help from Qualcomm (QCOM), whose MediaFlo TV service is getting built into several phones but is slow to take off.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.