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OMVC Taps Harris Interactive, Rentrak to Measure Mobile DTV Trial

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The Open Mobile Video Coalition, the group of some 800 stations that has been driving mobile digital TV (DTV) development for the past two years, has selected two companies to measure mobile DTV viewing for an upcoming consumer trial of the technology in Washington, D.C.

The OMVC said that market research firm Harris Interactive and media measurement specialist Rentrak will work in tandem to study consumer usage habits during OMVC's "Mobile DTV Consumer Showcase" in Washington, D.C. The trial, which should begin by this spring, will transmit up to 20 channels of free and premium programming using signals from eight mobile DTV stations: WDCA (Fox Television Stations); WUSA (Gannett Broadcasting); WPXW (ION Media Networks); WRC (NBC Universal); WHUT (Howard University/PBS); WNVC (MHz Networks); WNUV (Sinclair Broadcast Group); and WFDC (Univision Communications).

"One of the key advantages of mobile DTV is the built-in ability to measure viewer activity, giving broadcasters a much better picture of what consumers are actually watching, when they watch, and where," said Brandon Burgess, OMVC President and ION Media Networks Chairman and CEO. "We've selected Harris Interactive and Rentrak to perform this important service with devices that have a return channel, and we anticipate that this window into consumer behavior will help us deliver more relevant information and entertainment to viewers who are on-the-go."

As part of the trial, about 300 Sprint subscribers will be given Samsung "Moment" smartphones that are integrated with Samsung's new mobile DTV chip and a mobile DTV antenna, said Samsung VP John Godfrey. Washington-area viewers will also try mobile DTV on a range of devices, said OMVC, including netbook computers, accessory Wi-Fi receivers and portable DVD players with mobile DTV chips. In addition to live programming, the trial will also include interactive broadcasts and emergency alerts for weather incidents and other events.

During the spring and summer, OMVC plans to evaluate quantitative and qualitative usage for each of the selected device platforms and analyze factors such as early adoption, propensity to tolerate pay services, interactive services and usage patterns. Jointly, OMVC, Harris Interactive and Rentrak will utilize Harris's Early Adopter Community (EAC), a Web-based research tool that surveys consumers, and Rentrak's Mobile Essentials service, which can pull usage data through the cellular backchannel. Key metrics that will be studied by team during the project include determining the most active day parts, how long viewers remain engaged, and what genres of content are most compelling and frequently viewed.

"The Early Adopter Community provides an excellent opportunity to observe and analyze viewing trend patterns," said Harris Interactive President and CEO Kimberly Till in a statement. "Bringing hundreds of people together to experience mobile DTV content in a private, online setting allows for true feedback about consumer attitudes, opinions and behavior in this emerging broadcast television market. We are thrilled to be a part of this research with the OMVC and Rentrak."

"Rentrak is bullish about the future of delivering broadcast television content across all screens, including mobile devices," added Ken Papagan, president and chief strategy officer at Rentrak Corporation, in a statement. "We are very pleased to be working with the OMVC and Harris Interactive to further study and share field trial knowledge with key industry stakeholders who are evaluating how to best to engage consumers who view television and video content on mobile devices."