Online Entertainment

Fox Mobile Serves Up Mobizzo Media Service

More mobile video is slated to come to the consumer marketplace via a service dubbed “Mobizzo” announced by News Corp.’s Fox Mobile Entertainment this week. The service will offer games, music, mobile phone wallpaper and ringtones, including Fox programming such as episodes of “Family Guy” and films like “Napoleon Dynamite.”

The venture, along with a slew of other mobile and online TV programming and content services from major TV networks, highlights content owners’ continued experimentation with digital distribution and content for new platforms, such as PDAs, cell phones and PCs.

Fox Mobile is taking the effort further with plans to launch a multi-million dollar consumer marketing campaign for Mobizzo. In addition the division plans to produce its own specialized content, such as specially designed “Mobisodes” of the original series “24: Conspiracy,” inspired by the hit TV show “24,” and more. The network giant has had past success with such cross-media strategies, particularly with its “American Idol” text voting system, for instance.

Swiss Army Service

Mobizzo serves up video, music, celebrity tattoos, art, games and photos for about US$2-$3 for each “product,” or via monthly subscriptions averaging about $6. It is available now to customers of wireless providers Cingular and T-Mobile, Fox Mobile said.

The Mobizzo content can be accessed by entering a code onto mobile phone keypads, or online, the company said.

“From Fox television and movie properties, to original content produced directly for the mobile audience, we think we can create a unique and compelling mobile entertainment offering and deliver it directly to the consumer,” said News Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin.

Made for TV

The mobile phone is an attractive medium to TV networks, which can and are tailoring their content creation and strategies around new media, Ovum Vice President of Wireless Telecoms Roger Entner told TechNewsWorld.

“It’s a logical extension for a TV channel now to be expanding into the wireless world,” he said.

Entner added that the content created for digital distribution and the Internet is easily turned into content for mobile phones.

“Once you do it for online, it’s not that difficult to put it on a mobile phone,” he said. “When you know what to set up for, it makes it easier.”

Beyond the Tube

The Mobizzo business model and a la carte pricing mirrors Apple’s popular iTunes, which has been successful with its video offerings thanks to its partnerships with the big networks, Jupiter Research Vice President Michael Gartenberg told TechNewsWorld.

He said although the market for mobile video is clear, the amount consumers are willing to pay is not.

While the video and other content offerings for mobile phones and other different platforms are still somewhat slim, there is no shortage of places to put that content, Gartenberg added.

“From [the providers’] perspective, they have the phone, the PDA , the PC — all of which are places for mobile video,” he said. “It will be interesting to see what happens.”

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