Television

Virgin Mobile, MTV Networks set to blow roof off cellular content

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Virgin Mobile, US has unveiled its national, youth-focused cell phone service and its multi-year strategic partnership with MTV Networks, a division of Viacom.

The deal provides for exclusive wireless content and consumer products from MTV and VH1, as well as additional wireless content from Nickelodeon and CMT - a deal certain to blow the roof off current cellular content offerings. Beginning later this summer, every Virgin Mobile USA customer will have access to content from MTV, VH1, CMT and Nickelodeon. Virgin Mobile US CEO Dan Schulman noted that the combined strength of the Virgin and MTV Networks brands would establish a whole new framework for delivering music and entertainment content to cell phones.

Aimed at the under 30 market, MTV Networks and Virgin Mobile plan to start rolling out a wide variety of branded content, including games, graphics, ringtones, text alerts and voicemails beginning later this year. A few future examples include :

* Interactive Voting and Text Messaging - Virgin Mobile customers will be able to use their phones to vote for their favourite videos from music programming like MTV's Total Request Live and send shout-out messages to air on shows like CMT's Most Wanted Live.

* MTV and VH1 Daily Content - Virgin Mobile US customers will have access to the hottest breaking music news, artist updates, music charts and entertainment information straight from the top youth and music networks.

* Games - Nickelodeon will bring characters like Spongebob Squarepants to the world of wireless games, keeping Virgin Mobile customers busy playing away on their handsets. MTV and VH1 will also work together to provide exciting new interactive game experiences for Virgin Mobile customers.

* Ringtones - MTV Networks will launch ringtone services that let Virgin Mobile customers customize their phones with tunes from their favourite artists, as well as theme songs from Nickelodeon's most popular shows.

Later in the year, Virgin Mobile plans to integrate M-commerce capabilities so that its customers will be able to purchase the latest CDs. MTV and VH1 will work with Virgin Mobile to promote customised wireless CD stores featuring top albums from the VH1 Top 20 or cutting-edge MTV Buzzworthy artists. Virgin Mobile will also offer MTV-branded faceplates, phones and other accessories that are popular with the youth and young adults, says an official release.

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