MediaFLO Expects To Nearly Double The Number Of Markets It Serves By Year-End 2009

MediaFLO USA expects to nearly double the number of markets it serves by the end of next year, and is working hard at developing temporary channels and original content for its mobile broadcast TV service, according to Bob Bradley, MediaFLO USA’s Senior Director of Content and in charge of licensing and advertising, who spoke at the Mobile Marketing Forum in San Diego this morning.

2009 expansion plans: The Qualcomm subsidiary, which was a big participant in the last spectrum auction, is waiting anxiously for broadcasters to clear spectrum on Feb. 7, 2009 as part of the digital TV transition so that it can have more airwaves to expand its services. Today, it operates in 62 markets, and aims to be in 108 markets by the end of 2009.

Temporary channels and live events very successful: MediaFLO hasn’t taken off as quickly as they had hoped, and it’s unclear how many users the service has through its partnerships with Verizon Wireless and AT&T, but Bradley said the company is starting to see success in offering both temporary channels and access to live events. For instance, MediaFLO just launched a Victoria’s Secret TV channel with CBS Mobile that will air exclusive content from the lingerie-maker’s annual fashion show this Saturday. The channel will feature behind-the-scene snapshots from the event and a group of short episodes that will loop around the clock. Bradley: “It’s a great way for an iconic brand like Victoria’s Secret to increase engagement with its fans.” Another hot area is live events, which are getting an average viewing time of 20 minutes. Bradley: “People are really drawn to the service as a way to connect to live events.” Last summer, when the company aired footage from the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, it saw viewership increase by 103 percent from that event alone.

Original content coming soon: The company will also gamble on developing original content. Bradley announced a trio of new channels coming up – Guilt Free, Kissing and Self-Esteem – that it’s trying to build around consumers’ interests, passions, pet peeves and more. Going forward, MediaFLO will work with well-established Hollywood talent to help develop even more original content.

Interactivity and ad-targeting still elusive: Bradley also re-emphasized the company’s commitment to innovate more on interactivity, measurement and ad targeting. The company’s been talking about the back-channel opportunities that could enable viewers to vote or click to buy, for example, but they’ve yet to deliver on anything commercial and it’s been hyped at conferences like this for at least 18 months now. Bradley: “Our number one priority is really to validate the platform through credible metrics and we’re talking to third-party vendors right now… We’re only beginning to understand the new marketing opportunities presented by this new innovative approach.”

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