Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Crown Castle's Modeo aims TV at gadgets, cars

Reuters writes that Crown Castle International is planning to launch its live mobile TV offering, dubbed Modeo, in several top U.S. markets this year. Wireless broadcast tower operator Crown Castle is competing with Qualcomm to build "their own live TV networks that aim to complement mobile providers' efforts."

By 2007, Modeo is expected to "include about 10 video channels and at least 24 audio channels, to 30 U.S. markets covering about half the population." Currently no deals have been signed with content programmers or carrier, but Crown said "four leading mobile phone makers including Motorola Inc and Nokia will support the live TV technology it is using."
This puts Modeo DVB-H efforts behind Qualcomm's MediaFlo initiative, which has recently announced deals with KDDI in Japan and Verizon in the U.S.

According to Crown, combined video and audio subscriptions will cost approximately "$15 to $20 a month and separate audio subscriptions would incur monthly fees of $7 to $9."

Harris Nesbitt analyst John Bucher believed "mobile TV may just appeal to high-end consumers who always want the latest gadgets and are willing to pay higher monthly fees." He said, "It's going to be top-tier users," but probably could be successful "if roughly 10 percent or about 20 million U.S. subscribers signed up for wireless television."
"I don't think it has to go mass market to be successful," Bucher said.

With pricing similar to cable/satellite TV for premium channels, will consumers pay $15 a month for TV on the go? It might be asking a lot, when you're not getting the same 10-ft living room experience...