It’s been a few weeks since our last CBS update, but, never fear, the powers-that-be behind the network giant (given that there are so few networks, most are, indeed, giants) haven’t been wasting time sleeping. Next up: breaking news to your cell phone.
And it will only cost you 99 cents. If that’s not enough, all those Entertainment Tonight fans out there, can get their E.T. to Go for a mere $3.99 a month. I know, I know, how can you sign up? But wait! There’s more!
In the weeks ahead, CBS is planning to introduce several other mobile ventures. Some, including a soap opera in three- to five-minute episodes meant only for mobile phones, hew closely to the company’s existing businesses. Others do not, including a subscription service offering images, games, ring tones and sound effects, and a product that will let people create animated images of themselves that they can send as messages to friends.
But wait! There’s more!
News Corporation is also looking at cellphones and liking what they see. Hmm, I see dollars.
In what is the boldest venture yet by an established media company to insinuate itself into millions of cellphones, the News Corporation has created a mobile entertainment store called Mobizzo and a production studio to focus exclusively on developing cellphone entertainment in much the same way that 20th Century Fox creates movies and television.
Like CBS, New Corp is planning to bypass the traditional deals with the cell phone service providers, taking their products directly to the, er, streets. A comic book here, a tattoo artist there, add in a few blonde DJs and you get the picture.
So far, Mobizzo has acquired some of its 2,000 pieces of content from the unlikeliest places: a Hollywood tattoo designer, a Chinese art collective and a Los Angeles street artist. Rupert Murdoch, the News Corporation’s chief executive, is so taken with the idea, executives say, that he wants Mobizzo to be a global brand by the end of the year.
Rupert, call us. We need to talk. Soon.
A la carte items will cost a buck or two or three. Monthly subscriptions a mere $5.99. On top of your regular cell charges, which, as you know, are quite hefty. Factor in other standalone services from entertainment companies (surely the music industry is salivating at this idea), and you’re looking at both market saturation and consumer tolerance for being nickel-and-dimed into the poorhouse. Cingular and T-Mobile customers can, as of today, join the Mobizzo family.
News Corp. is trying to open its vaults, though, like CBS, they’re facing a key reality: most cellphone users in the United States aren’t equipped to receive video of any length. And as noted in the CBS piece, it can take far too long for video to download. When Medialoper Icon of the Month, Leslie Moonves says. . .
The alerts, Mr. Moonves said, are aimed at people who follow news closely. “You’re literally going to be able to see an explosion in Baghdad a couple of minutes after it happens, right from CBS News,” he said.
. . .it makes one wonder if that’s due to exclusivity issues with franchises or because it will take so darn long for the video to download.
As they say in the biz, breaking. . .