News Corp launches Mobizzo; MTV, CBS in separate cell phone deals

MUMBAI: A slew of announcements made yesterday looks as if everyone wants in on the mobile TV bandwagon. Media conglomerate News Corp. owners of Fox TV and Sky TV, has announced the launch of a new mobile content portal Mobizzo, to carry entertainment, games and music content on mobile telephones in the U.S.

Media magnate Rupert Murdoch's group News Corp said Mobizzo would provide a single home for all of its mobile content ,and is currently available on Cingular and T-Mobile phones in the US before it rolls out worldwide.

Further, Mobizzo is planning to open a studio to develop 'mobisodes' like those developed for the VCAST launch.

Collections from popular Fox brands, such as "Family Guy," "American Dad" and "Napoleon Dynamite" will be available as content for download on Mobizzo. It will also feature content from movie brands along with downloaded games and music from labels such as Warner Music.

Says News Corp president and chief operating officer Peter Chernin."The mobile market is exploding and it makes perfect sense for a media company like ours to create a real content destination for the billions of cell phone users around the world. 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."

With Mobizzo, consumers can download individual content likedownloads of videos, artwork, music and games for a fee charged directly to their monthly mobile phone bills. Pricing for the various products range from $1.99 to $2.49 and monthly subscription plans averaging $5.99 per month.

Murdoch has ruled out offering Fox shows via Apple Computer's hit iTunes service.

Also announced was an agreement by Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks and wireless carrier Sprint Nextel Corp. to provide programming from four cable networks to Sprint's mobile device.

Music and programming will be available from CMT, MTV, VH1, and Comedy Central on Sprint TV. Sprint subscribers will be able to select clips from, "CMT Insider", "The Daily Show with John Stewart", and Laguna Beach", among others.

Under the deal, Sprint customers would pay $5.95 per month to subscribe to mobile versions from the four cable networks. The Sprint TV Channel lineup is:

" CMT - Channel 46
" COMEDY CENTRAL - Channel 15
" MTV - Channel 36
" VH1 - Channel 26

Earlier, CBS had announced its plans to introduce a mobile video alert services as well as mobile soap opera's for mobile devices. CBS would offer news or entertainment alerts to mobile customers, beginning next week.

Users can subscribe to the CBS News mobile-alert service for 99 cents a month or to the Entertainment Tonight mobile-alert service for $3.99 per month. Once subscribed, they will receive up to five alerts daily, with photos and video if the user's mobile device supports such technology.

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