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Local News, Info Are Mobile DTV's Big Draws

Local news and weather is the most popular programming among
several hundred tire-kickers on mobile DTV in the Washington, D.C. area.

That is according to the 150 Sprint customers who turned in their
phones for specially modified Samsung Moment phones to tune into D.C. area TV
stations testing the service, which broadcasters hope will give them a piece of
the mobile video market.

Viewing by the test group turned out to be heaviest during the
work week, and includes "stealth viewing" says Open Mobile Video
Coalition (OMVC) Executive Director Anne Schelle, who cited a soap watcher on
her lunch break and a woman whose child's school event was sufficiently boring
that she opted for TV instead.

She said that most of the viewing appeared to be additive, with
folks extending their in-home viewing out of home, say, while on the morning
commute, or waiting in line at the grocery store. She also said that emergency
information was a key draw, citing spikes in use during the recent Discovery
Channel standoff in nearby Silver Spring, Md.

OMVC President and Ion Media CEO Brandon Burgess said in
announcing the midterm feedback from the sample group that it indicates that
live local programming is what viewers want most, which is the result broadcasters
are looking for since it separates their service from video services already
offered on smart phones.

The service is also being tested on netbooks and LG DVD players
through Oct. 30, bringing the total test group to about 350.

The Samsung Moment part of the test is over, and Schelle says the
users were reluctant to give up their phones with the DTV tuner chips.

The test was primarily about getting feedback to show advertisers
and others how people would use mobile TV service, rather than about the
technology, which is definitely a beta test and work in progress, Schelle

OMVC's finding seemed to square with a just-released Pew research
study showing that local TV is still the news source of choice for a majority
of Americans.