Betting on Mobile TV Chips


There are two schools of thought on television over mobile devices including cell phones – yay or nay! Nokia, Qualcomm, and others are in the “yay” camp. Add Newport Media’s backers to that list of optimists.
The Lake Forest, Calif.-based company recently raised $25 million in Series B funding from a group of investors led by Oak Investment Partners. Previous investors, Benchmark Capital, Venrock Associates, Global Catalyst Partners and Pinnacle Ventures, also invested in the company. Newport Media has so far raised a total of over $36 million.

Newport Media is making a system on a chip, that supports most major mobile TV standards – Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld (DVB-H), Digital Multimedia Broadcast (DMB), Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) and MediaFLO.

I feel that if right content such as short news clips, special mobisodes and sports clips – are piped over the air to your cell phone to break the monotony of the day, Mobile TV will work. I wrote about this trend back in July 2005 for Business 2.0 and how it is a big opportunity for entrepreneurs.

I agree with the naysayers that one has to watch and see how this trend plays out. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that skeptics might be wrong. The sizzling growth of MobiTV is proof that many are willing to pay for those kind of services. (It has about 500,000 subscribers who pay about $10 a month. If only 25% of that comes to MobiTV after paying off the carriers and the content providers, the company is bringing in about $1.25 million a month or $15 million a year. )

Crown Castle’s DVB is Modeo
The 3G Economy



Two other mobile TV chip companies have VCs betting on them: DiBcom completed a 24.5 million Euro 4th round last August, and Siano Mobile Silicon is now raising a second round of about $20M.

Jesse Kopelman

Re: MobiTV and Mobile TV.

There is a big difference between offering TV over your existing network (MobiTV, VCast, etc.) and building a whole new network to offer it. If and when Qualcomm or Crown Castle actually build the networks for which they have long been licensed, I’ll believe this has a future. Verizon, Sprint, and Cingular aren’t going to be building Mobile TV networks of their own anytime soon.

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Your article about companies who have obtained funding to manufacture mobile TV chips is interesting.

Just being able to obtain funding to produce a new product doesn’t mean that the product will be viable and profitable.

Many companies forget that.

I feel most companies focus too much on creating a product instead of focusing on the current needs of the prospects.

This is one reason why 80% of these businesses are not profitable and are forced into bankruptcy soon after.

They spend too much borrowed money to create products that nobody needs and after doing that, when they try to market them, then they discover the harsh reality. Soon the banks will come calling and they will have no choice but to declare bankrupt.

I believe product/services conception, creation and development should be customer driven.

Before creating a product, find out first who needs it (if any) and why.

That may save you a lot of headache and bankruptcy in the future.

So, the idea of mobile TV falls into this.

Who needs mobile TV and why?

Ikey Benney

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