IPTV and cable providers have long known that local content can be an effective differentiation strategy. That view is now extending to mobile wireless service, with Pivot Wireless experimenting with local video content for mobile phones. Not to be confused with the original production of local content, Pivot’s local content strategy simply repurposes existing local news, weather, and sports broadcasts for the mobile phone. TelecomWeb reports that Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox have all successfully launched local content for their Pivot Wireless ventures, and are looking to expand the practice. “Video content can be truly customized and localized for each MSO and market,” says Kevin Packingham, Sprint’s vice president for marketing and product development on the joint Pivot venture.
Pivot is positioning video, using both local and national content, as a differentiator for their wireless service. It makes sense for them to try to leverage their cable heritage of robust video service. Unfortunately for Pivot, their wireless competitors have already seen the mobileTV light and are aggressively pursuing wireless video strategies of their own. Verizon Wireless is very active with their V-Cast mobileTV service, and AT&T and T-Mobile are pursuing options as well (although less aggressively). Sprint is also very active with mobileTV, but you wonder how Pivot and Sprint view themselves in the market. They are business partners on the one hand, but clearly competitors as well. Should make for some interesting board meetings.