News Corp looking to do content deals in the mobile space

MUMBAI: US media conglomerate is targetting the mobile space in a big way. A few days ago it hatched an alliance with VeriSign to form a global mobile entertainmet firm.

The new company will merge a technologically advanced platform with mobile content production and delivery capabilities and will serve 30 territories with a potential reach of more than a billion mobile subscribers. News Corp will fork out $188 million for VeriSign's subsidiary Jamba.

Now News Corp is looking at opportunities to partner with key players in the mobile space to distribute content. Media reports quote News Corp COO Peter Chernin who delivered the opening keynote speech for day two of the CTIA Wireless IT and Entertainment 2006.

He says that as of now only four per cent of the 219 million mobile subscribers in the US watch mobile TV on their handsets. However if it rises to even 20 per cent and each viewer spends $10 a month on mobile video, mobile TV would generate nearly $5 billion in revenue. $10 to put things in perspective is a little less than the price of a movie ticket in some theatres in the US.

If makers and sellers of ringtones could increase their client base by just five per cent in a year, there would be an additional revenue of $1 billion.

He went on to state that operators and handset makers need to make sure content can be found more easily. He emphasised the need for developing easy-to-use search methods and also simpler business models, so that consumers know how to buy mobile content. Finding mobile entertainment on cell phones is very difficult right now, he said.

Chernin says that the deal with VeriSign is a sign that News Corp practices what it preaches. News Corp will launch a subscription-based mobile content service from The Simpsons and hopes to build a Jamba-powered engine to power an application which can be downloaded for its mobile franchise, MySpace.

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