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CES: MCV Inks First Wireless Carrier Deal

Complete Coverage: CES 2012

The Mobile Content Venture has cut a deal with wireless carrier MetroPCS Communications to carry the group's consumer mobile digital TV service Dyle, which will offer live TV broadcasts from MCV member stations. The Dyle service will launch later this year.

MCV, which is made up of 12 major broadcast groups as well as the Fox, NBC and ION Television networks, also announced that as part of that deal, Samsung will introduce a mobile DTV-capable Android smart phone for MetroPCS subscribers.

The deal marks a notable advance for broadcaster's efforts to launch mobile DTV services. In the past, stations had been unable conclude deals with carriers, who seemed reluctant to create a potential competitor for the delivery of video to phones and mobile devices.

"This is part of a mass deployment of services that will take mobile DTV from the demo stage to reality," notes Salil Dalvi, co-general manager of MCV and senior VP of digital distribution at NBCUniversal in an interview.

While both MVC and MetroPCS are touting the immediate consumer benefits of offering live TV broadcasts to mobile devices, the alliance also means that the Dyle service could eventually complement its live TV offering with VOD and interactive services that would be delivered over a backchannel provided by the carrier's 3G and 4G data network.

At the end of the third quarter of 2011, MetroPCS has about 9.1 million subscribers and is the fifth largest wireless carrier in the country.

As part of the deal, the service will be preloaded as an app on the Samsung phones and available in such MetroPCS markets as Atlanta, Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Francisco and Tampa.

The companies aren't revealing the consumer fees for the service, if any, pricing for the Samsung phone, or exact timing for the 2012 launch. Content will vary by market, but in Los Angeles would include Fox, NBC, ION, ION Qubo, Telemundo and Univision, notes Erik Moreno, co-general manager of MCV and senior VP of corporate development at the Fox Networks Group.

Stephen Jemente, product manager, digital media and location-based services, at MetroPCS noted that they already offer video on demand to their subscribers, which over-index in digital media consumption, and that their deal to supply live TV will help differentiate their product from larger carriers.

To receive the mobile broadcasts, the Samsung phone will have a telescoping antenna that will need to be pulled out when watching TV.

When Dyle launches, the mobile broadcasts will be available from 72 stations in 32 markets served by MCV broadcast member stations reaching about 50% of the U.S., Moreno notes.

Users of the phone would also be able to receive signals in any of those markets even if MetroPCS does not offer wireless services in those markets.

The Samsung phone will be demoed next week during 2012 International CES in Las Vegas.