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Ion Forms Mobile-Ventures Unit

Ion Media Networks is forming Open Mobile Ventures Corp. (OMVION), a new business unit dedicated to the research and development of portable, mobile and out-of-home transmission technology utilizing over-the-air digital-television spectrum, officials said Monday.

OMVION means to be a vehicle for like-minded broadcasters to align their research-and-development efforts in the advancement and standardization of TV spectrum-driven mobile applications. Ion is talking with with other broadcasters regarding an industrywide alliance for digital-television-spectrum-based mobile-video distribution.

“Ion Media Networks is in three businesses: broadcasting, multicasting and datacasting,” CEO Brandon Burgess said in a statement. “The creation of OMVION will help us to advance mobile datacasting activities in collaboration with like-minded broadcasters. Over 100 million video-capable mobile devices will be sold in the United States this year. OMVION’s mission is to deliver video to such consumer devices using DTV broadcast spectrum.”

OMVION will be managed and staffed by Ion’s engineering department under the oversight of president of engineering David Glenn. Ion also retained former Disney corporate strategy executive Dan Hsieh to assist with developing an R&D and business plan for the development, marketing and deployment of digital-terrestrial-TV spectrum-based mobile applications.

OMVION will establish three mobile DTV-test centers in New York; Tampa, Fla.; and Washington, D.C., for prototyping and developing of mobile DTV and single-frequency distributed networking technologies.

OMVION has the backing of various consumer hardware and transmission-equipment manufacturers that are supportive of digital-TV broadcasters advancing the adoption of terrestrial portable and mobile-TV-video standards similar in nature to those used in other countries.