Flo TV prepares expansion with DTV transition
Qualcomm’s Flo TV subsidiary, formerly known as MediaFlo, today announced that its mobile TV service will expand nationwide following the DTV transition on June 12, which frees up broadband spectrum for Flo’s dedicated network.
While Qualcomm initially fought the FCC’s delay of the DTV switchover, Flo TV was able to make inroads in its expansion during the interim (story here ).
Fifteen new markets will go live immediately following the transition on June 12, bringing service to major markets such as Boston, Houston, Miami and San Francisco, while others will follow throughout the year.
Besides the new markets, MediaFlo is able to immediately expand service in existing markets such as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. By the end of 2009, Flo will expand into 39 new markets, giving it a total reach of more than 100 major markets and more than 200 million potential customers nationwide.
So far, AT&T and Verizon Wireless have been the only major U.S. carriers to offer services via Flo. But Flo TV President Bill Stone has made no secret of the desire to expand beyond cell phones and into more direct, consumer-facing services.
In January, the company announced that it had teamed with Audiovox to be the exclusive supplier of in-vehicle units that will work with a car’s existing video-viewing equipment to enable passengers to watch Flo TV in their cars (story here ). In addition, Audiovox will produce the only Flo TV-ready overhead drop-down video, as well as head rest system units in the market.
Plans call for continued cooperation with leading companies to ensure that Flo TV is available to consumers across multiple platforms.
According to a recent report by Nielsen, mobile video viewing grew 52 percent in the first quarter of this year compared with the previous year. Flo TV market research shows that viewers who watch the Flo TV service are spending an average of more than 25 minutes per day watching television on their phones. That is comparable to the average time U.S. cell phone users spend per day talking on their cell phones, according to the CTIA's Semi–Annual Wireless Industry Survey 2008.
While it uses a different system to deliver its mobile TV services, MobiTV earlier this month said it now has more than 7 million subscribers tuning in (story here ). Its service is available across carriers that include Sprint, AT&T and Alltel in the United States.