SK Telecom is pushing for a full-scale foray into the next-generation broadcasting solution market in the United States.
The Korean mobile operator announced on Jan. 7 (local time) that it has signed an agreement with Sinclair Broadcasting Group, the largest terrestrial broadcaster in the United States, to establish a joint venture that will develop broadcast solutions and equipment. The two companies will officially launch the joint venture in the first quarter by investing US$16.5 million each.
The joint venture is aiming to develop ATSC 3.0 broadcast solutions and equipment and commercialize them for the first time in the United States this year. SK Telecom and Sinclair expect that over 1,000 TV stations across the United States will introduce the solutions and equipment in the next 10 years.
The U.S. broadcasting industry established ATSC 3.0, a next-generation broadcasting standard, last year. It is preparing for a broadcasting service that has evolved further from the existing ATSC 1.0.
ATSC 3.0 is a standard for digital TV broadcasting in the U.S. It was commercialized in Korea in 2017 with the successful start of ultra high definition (UHD) broadcast. The commercialization of ATSC 3.0 solutions will support new media services such as personalized advertising and in-vehicle terrestrial broadcasting and navigation map updates. They will also make it possible to recognize users’ private IPs with broadcasting frequencies, realizing interactive services between media companies and users’ smartphones, vehicles and TVs.
SK Telecom said that the partnership will pave the way for Korean media technologies to reach U.S. homes. The number of U.S. households with TVs stood at 120 million as of the end of 2017.
SK Telecom is expanding its media business by cooperating with overseas broadcasting companies. It recently agreed with the three Korean terrestrial TV broadcasters to merge SK Broadband’s “Oksusu” and “Pooq,” their over-the-top (OTT) video streaming service.