& cplSiteName &

MobiTV's Next Step Could be U-verse

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
11/17/2006
50%
50%

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) executives often talk about reaching the "three screens" with their U-verse IPTV service. Emeryville, Calif.-based MobiTV Inc. might be the company that figures into the carrier's plans for doing so. (See Service Station: AT&T's Silly Stream.)

The three screens AT&T talks about are TVs, PCs, and mobile devices. Currently, AT&T's U-verse IPTV content makes it to the TV screen through partnerhsips with Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT). AT&T has been far less specific about how it will bring U-verse programming to PC and mobile screens.

So why might MobiTV be the right partner for the job? First, both AT&T and Cingular Wireless , which AT&T now co-owns with BellSouth, are already MobiTV customers. MobiTV video became part of Cingular's mMode mobile services 15 months ago. Cingular will be subsumed by AT&T at the completion of the BellSouth/AT&T merger.

AT&T announced in September that MobiTV would power its new broadband video service called AT&T Broadband TV. The service now features about 25 channels of news, sports, and entertainment content and is growing, MobiTV tells Light Reading. AT&T had announced earlier that MobiTV video is available to users of WiFi hotspots. (See AT&T Offers Internet TV and MobiTV Supports WiMax.)

In the U.S., MobiTV has also signed up as customers Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and Windstream Supply Inc. In the U.K. it counts 3 UK and Salt SA as customers.

MobiTV already has built a platform that brings video to large numbers of PC and mobile screens and claims it should have an edge in an AT&T mobile deal. The company licenses and aggregates video content, encodes it and "optimizes" it to display correctly on a variety of mobile devices, hosts it, and streams it over broadband and wireless networks.

Strategy Analytics Inc. VP of wireless David Kerr points out that MobiTV has plenty of experience with the advertising aspect of mobile and PC video. "They're not just wrapping ads around mobile content; they’re marketing over a lot of non-traditional networks," Kerr says. "They're agnostic on access networks, and they view all of them as just more potential eyeballs.

"By a long way, MobiTV are the market leaders in the mobility space, so I see them as a natural company to partner with there."

AT&T did not return calls for comment on this story. MobiTV says that the company is positioning for that type of business, but didn't comment on any specific deals.

"The PC product and the mobile product would be our specialty, so we would probably skin those two services to mirror the branding of the [U-verse] service," says MobiTV spokesman Justin Taylor.

The main question now is whether MobiTV will contribute its own licensed video content, or simply host and deliver AT&T's U-verse content.

"Would we be the technology play while they would use their own content? That's kind of up for debate, but that's certainly up to AT&T," Taylor says. "Either way, we are really pleased that we would be hosting that offering."

Of course, AT&T has other options for extending U-verse to PCs and mobile devices. The carrier could develop its wireless and broadband video platforms in-house. It might be more likely to ask its IPTV partners Alcatel and Microsoft to design and deploy a bridge between the U-verse super headend and the Cingular wireless network. Or U-verse content might be delivered to PCs using existing AT&T broadband infrastructure.

But MobiTV has a long headstart in developing and field-testing its platform with large numbers of subscribers. AT&T and its partners now have their hands full learning to deliver IPTV to large numbers -- they may not have time to start from scratch with PC and mobile video platforms.

MobiTV also appears to be fueling up for more growth. On November 2, the firm announced that Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE) and Hearst Corp. had joined the C round with an additional $30 million. (See MobiTV Raises $30M.) That brought the round to just more than $100 million. (See MobiTV Raises $70M.) The company announced a $15 million B round in August 2004.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Mark Sullivan
50%
50%
Mark Sullivan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:34:26 AM
re: MobiTV's Next Step Could be U-verse
AT&T has started up a special user portal for U-verse billing, promotions, service announcements, etc. This may be the site of "U-verse for the PC."
Mark Sullivan
50%
50%
Mark Sullivan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:34:26 AM
re: MobiTV's Next Step Could be U-verse
With AT&T wrestling with the challenge of getting U-verse on TVs, it will probably be awhile before they go after the two smaller screens of PCs and mobile devices. How long? Before you answer, remember how many advertising dollars are up for grabs on the PC and mobile devices.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
SmartNICs aren't just about achieving scale. They also have a major impact in reducing CAPEX and OPEX requirements.
Hot Topics
Nokia Bell Labs & Verizon Stretch Fixed 5G to the Home
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/13/2017
Eurobites: Telefónica Reckons Plastic Is Fantastic for FTTH
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 11/15/2017
Juniper's New Contrail VP Hails From Google
Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading, 11/15/2017
Animals with Phones
Why Cats Don't Run Tech Support Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
The Mobile Broadband Road Ahead
By Kevin Taylor, for Huawei
All Partner Perspectives