Dale Knoop is the senior director of business development at MobiTV, which provides wireless companies with mobile television content. MobiTV recently launched a Spanish-language version of its service, offering 16 channels for $9.99 a month. MobiTV also bundled together the content for the Sprint TV en Vivo service, which launched earlier this month. The Sprint service features content from Discovery en Español, ESPN Deportes and Video Rola among others. Knoop used to work at Sprint before joining MobiTV. Knoop spoke to Hispanic Television Update about the Hispanic mobile television market. An edited transcript follows:
Q: What was the motivation for the recently announced deal with Sprint?
A: It is something that they use at point of sale to speak to customers about the capabilities of the phone and things they can do with the phone while they are on the go. I know from being there that Sprint was trying to put together some initiatives to address this market because they saw it is a lucrative market, because of the early adopter status that the Hispanic market represents. The Hispanic market has shown itself to be tech savvy and interested in new technology.
Q: Why do you think the market is ripe for a Spanish-language service?
A: There is a lot of interest in all things Hispanic, whether it is content that they can get or services that are totally directed at them and that are Spanish-speaking. I think people have started to wake up. There is this vibrant Hispanic community here and they have these certain traits of being early adopters and being really, really tech-savvy. They want to stay in touch with their content from back home, they want information and they want to be entertained just like any other demographic segment
Q: Any plans to offer an English-only lineup for Hispanics?
A: We cast a pretty big net when we go out and look for content. We don´t leave any stone unturned. And then you have to balance what you can put into the content [against] what people can afford, what rights can be cleared by the content partner and how quickly does the carrier partner want you to be in market. So balancing those things together kind of determines what the programming will be and the product.
Q: How did you go about putting together a content lineup?
A: Predominantly you want to go for brands that people are going to recognize because it makes a great acquisition message for the service.
Q: What are your expectations in terms of subscribers?A: I don’t know that Sprint has released a specific number but it is not a big number -- but it is not a small number either. From our perspective, it is a good business for us to be in.
Q: How did you choose your lineup and what were the priority categories?A: Music, no matter who you are, is something that resonates with people. Music on the go can be very, very entertaining. It is something that is almost a necessity in popular culture. News is always a must in any service that's going to be called television. You've got to be delivering news. Sports is very, very important. It really is like building a cable service where you've got some core pieces and then you build around it.
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