Mobile500 Alliance Forms to Accelerate the Availability of Mobile Digital Television Across the U.S.

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 

Members Own Television Stations in Markets Covering Approximately 90% of the U.S. and Over 263 Million Consumers

WASHINGTON — A coalition of leading television broadcasters announced today the formation of the Mobile500 Alliance to accelerate the availability of mobile digital television, or Mobile DTV, service to consumers nationwide. As of this announcement, the Mobile500 Alliance consists of 30 broadcast television companies, which collectively own 346 full-power television stations broadcasting in 167 markets. The markets represent approximately 90% of the United States population, including markets of all sizes ranging from New York City, the country’s largest television market, to some of the country’s smallest television markets, such as St. Joseph, MO and North Platte, NE.

The Mobile500 Alliance brings together leading broadcasters in a collective, focused effort to accelerate the nationwide availability of Mobile DTV service. Mobile DTV enables consumers to watch live television on their laptops, smart phones and other mobile devices, as well as out-of-home platforms such as billboards and vehicles, all using a broadcast signal and without using the bandwidth of wireless providers. Over-the-air television delivered to mobile and out-of-home devices in local markets will meet the growing demand of on-the-go consumers, and it will expand upon the one-to-many efficiencies provided by local broadcasters.

“The Mobile500 Alliance aims to develop a Mobile DTV business model permitting consumers to view popular broadcast content, as well as non-broadcast content with enhanced features,” said Colleen B. Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fisher Communications, Inc. and Chair of the Mobile500 Alliance. “To that end, we will work to secure content arrangements with program suppliers and enhanced consumer device features with electronics manufacturers.”

As an open, inclusive organization, the Mobile500 Alliance invites the participation and involvement of virtually all commercial broadcasters. The organization will build on the Mobile DTV standards activities of the Open Mobile Video Coalition, or OMVC, by expanding on the OMVC’s successful Mobile DTV efforts and by developing a sustainable nationwide business model. Earlier this year, the OMVC launched the Washington, DC Consumer Showcase for Mobile DTV, which has begun to characterize consumer behavior, attitudes and expectations about mobile DTV.

Brandon Burgess, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ION Media Networks, Inc., and President of the OMVC, said, “It is important the entire television industry support Mobile DTV. The Mobile500 Alliance and its members are an important part of this developing service, and their efforts further demonstrate the commitment of broadcast TV to fully expanding its use of the digital spectrum and finding new ways to serve the public.”

The demand for more personalized and mobile content continues to increase, driven by the technological advancements in smart phones, laptops and hand held devices. Recent data indicates that smart phone ownership totals approximately 50 million people nationwide and grew by 8% in just a recent three-month period. At this rate, the total number of smart phone users will grow by more than 16 million users annually.

In addition to Ms. Brown, the initial Organizing Executive Committee was led by executives from Capitol Broadcasting Company, Fisher Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSCI), LIN Media (NYSE: TVL), Schurz Communications Inc., Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: SBGI) and Titan Broadcast Group.

In recent days, nearly two dozen other broadcasters agreed to join the Mobile500 Alliance, including Communications Corporation of America; Cordillera Communications, Inc.; Freedom Communications, Inc.; Granite Broadcasting Corporation; Gray Television, Inc. (NYSE: GTN); Hoak Media Corporation; Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc.; Local TV, LLC; Max Media LLC; McGraw-Hill Broadcasting Company, Inc. (NYSE: MHP); New Vision Television, Inc.; Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXST); Pappas Telecasting Companies; and Tribune Broadcasting Company. A complete list of broadcast members can be found at www.Mobile500Alliance.com. The Mobile500 Alliance continues to meet with other local broadcasters around the country and expects that its membership will grow accordingly.

“Local broadcasters are an integral part of the communities we serve,” observed Ms. Brown. She predicted a bright future for the Mobile500 Alliance: “The expansion of mobile DTV provides local broadcasters with another way to deliver the information local viewers need and rely upon, especially as consumers increasingly turn to their portable devices for personalized content. We look forward to working with our broadcast partners, content providers, device manufacturers and others to develop an efficient and economical Mobile DTV network.”

Gordon Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Broadcasters, said, “As the original wireless technology, broadcasters are proud to play a leading role in this innovative movement, which will bring viewers on-the-go access to our highly-valued local news and entertainment programming. The commitment of television broadcasters to develop Mobile DTV further demonstrates how broadcasters use their spectrum to serve the public and benefit the public interest.”