Japan's DoCoMo, broadcasters enter pact on mobile TV

NTT DoCoMo and four others including Fuji Television Network and Sky Perfect Communications have decided to form a new company by the end of December to create television programs designed chiefly for mobile phones, sources, quoted by a Kyodo News report said.

The Kyodo report said NTT DoCoMo will tap the expertise of the broadcasters in the alliance, which also involves Nippon Broadcasting System and Itochu to upgrade its TV services as the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications is considering easing a ban on distributing programs for mobile phone-based terrestrial digital TV broadcasts that hit the airwaves this April.

The new broadcast service, the so-called one-segment, or 'one-seg' service can now offer only the same programs as those aired via regular TV at a given time.

But the communications ministry is considering lifting the ban in 2008 to allow the distribution of programs unique only to one-seg TV services, the report said.

The five partners aim, for example, to market products that appear or are advertised in one-seg TV shows through NTT DoCoMo's phone-based Internet i-mode service.

Also under consideration is the opening of a broadcast station dedicated to one-seg programming by using the bandwidth that will be freed up when analog TV broadcasting ends in 2011 as scheduled.