10-channel package for British consumers.
Rok Corp., the U.K. distributor of music and other entertainment content on mobile-phone memory cards, today (Oct. 11) launched ROK TV, a live TV-to-mobile service.
ROK TV comprises 10 channels, including two music services, which are targeted at 2.5G mobile handsets. To watch ROK TV, customers log on to the www.rok.tv Web site to download the ROK TV application and sign up.
Of the 10 channels on offer, three will be streamed live simultaneously along the networks from the TV services' broadcast centers. They are news service CNN, British news channel ITN and children's channel Cartoon Network.
The other seven are video-on-demand channels, including M Music and Smooth Sounds, which are based on a ROK-compiled music videos licensed to the company. The music services are based on ROK's catalog of more than 250 licensed music videos from independent labels.
ROK Corp. says the move makes ROK TV the United Kingdom's first full-screen multi-channel 2.5G mobile-TV service. Other operators, such as Orange, are using the still developing 3G to start their TV offerings.
2.5G is the current standard of devices used by the overwhelming majority of consumers. ROK’s service can also be used with the advanced third generation (3G) versions, which still have a very limited penetration.
"The [mobile] networks want TV for use of their airtime, the channel owners want it for their content, and research shows people will buy live mobile TV," says Bruce Renny, Rok's U.K.-based group marketing director. "We've used 2.5G because of the country's 60 million mobile customers, only 4-5 million have 3G, which is still limited in its in reach."
Renny says ROK did want to wait for the introduction of DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting -Handheld), the mobile TV broadcast frequency currently being tested internationally, as it is at least four years away.
"The 2.5G technology is right here, right now for offering the first multi-channel, network agnostic mass-market TV subscriptions service," Renny adds.
ROK TV subscription costs £9.99 ($17.60) a month, with the first three months free. The application can be used with any of the U.K.'s five wireless carrier and a host of Nokia handsets.
Although ROK collects the subscription fees for revenue and rights owners' royalties, subscribers also have to pay the carriers for the use of their airtime.
ROK TV is ringfenced to prevent subscribers from watching the service outside the United Kingdom.