BBC gets into mobile TV game


LONDON -- The BBC has begun a 12-month mobile television trial that will conduct research into the growing audience for television on the move, the pubcaster said Thursday.

The broadcaster will begin trials with U.K. mobile phone operators 3, Orange and Vodafone and will stream BBC1, BBC News 24 and BBC3 along with several radio networks to users equipped with 3G phones.

"By making a range of television channels and radio networks available to 3G mobile phone subscribers, we hope to test not only the effectiveness of 3G as a means of distribution but also how audiences respond to the BBC's linear services on their mobiles," said Ashley Highfield, BBC director of future media and technology. "To this end, we will be undertaking extensive and unique research into consumer behavior and experience throughout the 3G mobile syndication trial."

The BBC is not the first major broadcaster here to investigate the potential for mobile television. Commercial rival ITV already is running a trial with mobile operator 3, while satcaster BSkyB offers 28 channels packaged into news, entertainment and sports via mobile operators Vodafone and Orange. Thos channels have been picked up by 230,000 subscribers since launching at the end of 2005.