ROK Entertainment Group has launched the popular ROK TV streaming mobile TV service in the United States. Users can now go to www.roktv.com and subscribe to thirteen channels of content for only $0.99 per channel. ROK has licensed content from well over 50 content providers, enough for dozens of channels, which will be going live throughout the coming weeks.
However, this is not just another re-hash of the typical mobile video channel offerings. ROK bills its service as one that focuses on niche, independent, alternative, urban, and international content such as TV Reggaeton, OutThere TV, and Noche De Salsa. This is largely due to ROK's UK experience that has shown mobile TV to be a '3x5 proposition' where consumers' usage tends to take on a 'three minutes at a time, five times a day' pattern and where these types of channels are proving as popular as major brand names. As such, ROK TV's programming line-up is being designed to be the latest, coolest, content available.
"We see large demographic and affinity segments of active mobile media consumers that are being underserved by the content offerings of existing mobile video services," says Jonathan Kendrick, Chairman of ROK who continues, "But we're not turning away from major entertainment, news or sports programming, in fact we fully intend to showcase the power of major media brands and sponsors in a variety of unique ways as the service grows." ROK TV currently includes a range of live news, sports, music, cartoons and entertainment channels in its UK lineup.
ROK TV, which runs over 2.5G and 3G networks, has been live in the UK since late last year. It was recently reviewed in a report by Strategy Analytics and, by a vote of users, came in #2 out of four services. Even though ROK TV was running over 2.5G it beat out 3G services -- Hutchison's '3' and Orange -- both run by US-based MobiTV.
To get ROK TV, users go to www.roktv.com, register and download the software to their Smartphone, Windows Mobile or Java device. Then with a few clicks build their own custom package of channels. "It's a simple process now, but getting even easier in the next few weeks," says Kendrick. "And to help motivate people through the process, we've got an incentive for them."
That incentive is one month of free ROK TV for all new subscribers.
In addition to basic streaming channels, ROK TV will soon be adding On-Demand and Premium programming. "We're going to keep adding features and functionality to the service, including those never available in the U.S.," says Bruce Renny, Head of Global Marketing for ROK.
One of those features is ROK STAR, which lets the viewer interact with Mobile TV without ever leaving the viewing experience. "Basically, a viewer can be watching a game show or shopping channel, press the 'star' key, and a transparent overlay rolls over the screen which lets the user interact with the program. This could be anything from voting, to messaging, to purchasing a product or ring tone, without having to stop watching the program. It is essentially the complete ITV experience on your mobile phone."
ROK Entertainment Group recently set up offices in Beverly Hills, CA and plans to launch a number of innovative mobile products and services. "We're looking forward to working with many partners in the U.S., including MNO's, hardware manufacturers, and content providers," said Renny.