For Scripps CEO Adam Symson, the introduction of higher quality video and audio with ATSC 3.0, also known as NextGen TV, is nice for the audience, but it isn’t what gets him excited about the technology.
Symson believes that NextGen TV’s infrastructure, which is designed around transmitting IP data similar to any other wireless network, allows Scripps to eventually get into the business of delivering data.
“NextGen TV’s greatest opportunity, I believe, is in wireless data,” he said in an interview with Cord Cutters News (read the full Q&A here). “When we broadcast something. It’s one to infinity. When you talk about receiving something on your phone, it’s one to one, very inefficient. And so there’s a lot of applications in which a one-to-infinity application of push would be a really efficient use of data transfer.”
Symson talked about the opportunity to broadcast data like over-the-air software updates to cars, taking over from the cellular networks. Because NextGen TV can broadcast widely, it’s a far cheaper way to deliver that data when compared with using a cellular network, which has to deliver data specifically to each car.
He doesn’t think that this form of data delivery will compete against the wireless companies, since there’s increasing demand for data everywhere and he sees Scripps actually relieving some of the wireless carriers’ burdens.
“For the wireless companies, it’s not about cannibalizing them,” Symson said. “In some cases, it may be even about partnering with them, because they’re also looking for offloading. There’s just so much out there and there’s so much demand.”
He acknowledged this would take a while to happen. Those cars would need to have a compatible antenna able to pick up ATSC 3.0, which likely will take years to happen.
But Scripps is partnering with fellow broadcast Nexstar on a venture called OTA Wireless, which has been charged to find different applications for ATSC 3.0 beyond just over-the-air television.