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3 tunes into mobile TV

3 tunes in to mobile TV

Super Series cricket on 3 mobile
3 mobile officially launched its mobile TV service today, offering customers six new channels, including live CNN breaking news and Sky Racing streams.

Alongside the real-time stations are two-hour continuous loops of ABC Kids, featuring The Wiggles, Bananas In Pyjamas and Play School, and Cartoon Network, which shows Johnny Bravo and Powerpuff Girls.

For the older 18 to 30 year old demographic, 3 is introducing its first interactive mobisode, three-minute episodes of comedy drama series Forget The Rules, released every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday on 3, Channel V and on the Internet. Following the Wednesday epsisode, viewers are prompted to vote via SMS on the direction the show should take. The all-Australian cast and crew then spend the rest of the week writing, shooting and editing the next three clips to air the following week.

Paul Baiguerra, executive producer of Forget The Rules, said that 3 mobile TV is a great way to develop the local industry and promote Australian content without having to rely on the tough competition in the television broadcasting industry.

"This is a unique opportunity to get Australian stories out there without the usual gatekeepers barring the way," Baiguerra said.

Rather than utilising the upcoming DVB-H (digital video broadcasting for handhelds) standard, 3 streams the programs to handsets using its third-generation mobile phone networks. A three minute episode of Forget The Rules is about a 5-8MB stream in total -- although 3 offers pay as you go and subscription rates rather than charging for data.

PAYG pricing structure for 3's mobile TV is 50c per two minutes (for most channels), with a monthly cap for each channel ranging from $3 per month for mobisode Forget The Rules up to $8 for unlimited live viewing of the Channel 9 coverage of the Johnnie Walker Super Series when Australia takes on the ICCC Cricket XI. While the new line-up has been running for three weeks already, Nigel Dews, 3's director of sales, marketing and product today officially unveiled the mobile channels and pricing structures. Dews also stated the mobile service isn't meant to replace regular television or compete with pay TV providers.

Sky Racing offers customers a live stream of the pay TV channel, access to 125 race meetings per week, betting tips, odds and results for horse racing, greyhounds and the trots, for $7 per month.

Over 60 percent of 3's 540,000 customers currently use the 3G portal to access content. Since the soft launch of the additional mobile TV channels three weeks ago, Dews claims that over 147,000 streams have been downloaded to 3 handsets, with the most popular channels being the Cartoon Network and Sky Racing.