Dublin mobile firm scores TV deal with Bahrain

21 Jul 2004

A Dublin-based digital rights management (DRM) firm headed by ex-Marlborough boss David McKenna has just signed a deal to provide live television streaming at 10-30 frames per second over GPRS and 3G networks to MTC-Vodafone in Bahrain. The deal follows a number of mobile music DRM deals with some of the world’s largest media corporations, including Time Warner, EMI, Universal and BBC World.

McKenna’s Mobile Integrated Solutions (MIS) claims the deal with MTC-Vodafone is the world’s first television over mobile contract. The deal sees MIS deliver live TV (six channels), music and video clips to the handsets of Vodafone subscribers in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The system includes a patent-pending DRM system that protects content by advanced encryption measures. The system is designed for high volume traffic of mobile content downloads and allows for strong picture and sound quality over the relatively low bandwidth that GPRS offers, as well as the higher quality 3G-based EDGE mobile phone technology.

The agreement is the first of a number of potential deals for MIS in the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula. MIS is understood to be also focusing on the Asian market.

Similar agreements have also been reached with some of the world’s largest media organisations such as Time Warner, EMI, Universal and BBC World for the distribution of music, news and entertainment content to mobile phones.

Last year, MIS established a product development arm in Sweden through the acquisition of Vimio AB, which is currently engaged in the development of cutting edge mobile services such as audio and video streaming technologies as well as mobile surveillance systems. MIS employs five people in Dublin and 17 in Sweden.

According to Malachy Harkin, co-founder of MIS, as well as television the deal will see the company’s technology used to distribute video clips as well as polyphonic ringtones and other content.

“Our DRM technology has been signed up for by a number of major media corporations for use over mobile. A music file can be encrypted and DRM rights can be embedded within a file. If somebody tries to send a song over Bluetooth or infra-red to another phone the music file may be copied but it won’t work because it will be tied to the original mobile device by the IEMI number on the phone,” Harkin explained.

By John Kennedy