Today Qualcomm scored a huge coup for its MediaFLO mobile television service by winning the right to broadcast the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and to create a 27/7 channel devoted to the event. All MediaFLO subscribers will be able to watch the broadcast when it airs on Dec. 3. The fashion show pulled in a television audience last year of 6.5 million, exactly mirroring the number of people who are watching any form of mobile TV, which includes options other than MediaFLO.
But as the February transition to digital television looms, groups such as the National Association of Broadcasters and the Open Mobile Video Coalition (pushing a jointly developed LG and Samsung standard) are seeking to develop alternate methods to watch TV on the go to avoid being beholden to wireless providers. The OMVC and it’s backers are branching out beyond cellular networks, hoping to install their technology in cars and laptops. Should those efforts succeed, Qualcomm’s investments in MediaFLO won’t pan out.
With its Ultra Mobile Broadband 4G wireless effort officially shuttered last week, Qualcomm needs to find another way to mint money. It still has a platform effort in Gobi, MediaFLO is still around, and 3G networks aren’t going anywhere for a while, but Qualcomm built its success on controlling the IP for the widely adopted mobile standard CDMA. It can certainly play in other fields, but without a choke hold on some widely needed intellectual property, its negotiating power and royalty rates will be lessened.
Image from CBS