Must-See Mobile TV–Maybe

Mobile TV is one step closer to standardization in the United States–and mobile video marketing could one day become de riguer.

The Advanced Television Systems Committee approved a proposed specification, Mobile DTV, as a candidate to become the mobile video standard. The Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), which supports Mobile DTV, said this means the group could meet its goal toward launching full mainstream mobile DTV in 2009.

Mobile DTV extends the range of U.S. television broadcasters, who will vacate the airwaves and convert to digital technology by February of next year. The technology lets broadcasters use part of their spectrum to create a mobile TV channel. This can then be received by cell phones as well as laptops, PDAs, PMPs (portable media players), and other enabled devices. The OMVC sees numerous mobile marketing opportunities as a result, such as location-based services, ads, and sell-through transactions.

To be sure, it will probably be at least a year before these opps can be proven. For one thing, device manufacturers are going to have to get on board and create phones that can receive these mobile TV channels. Another challenge could be the cellular carriers: Are they going to want to sell devices that allow consumers to enjoy content that the carriers did not sell them? Historically, they haven’t.

That said, if all goes well for Mobile DTV, marketers will have something to be excited about. More than ever, the mobile device will allow for multi-channel marketing–but on one channel. I can see commercials enticing viewers to send keywords to a shortcode in order to receive a marketing message, such as a sales special. Or show producers will be able to entice consumers to send premium texts, such as voting for a favorite contestant and paying 99 cents for the privilege.

Pie-in-the-sky or impending mobile marketing opportunities? Let me know what you think!