MTV's Logo Launches Programs for Cellphones
Tuesday, April 4, 2006
Logo, an MTV entertainment channel that reaches a estimated 20 million viewers, has launched a cellphone video programming service targeted at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered audience.
Logo, which launched on cable television last June, formed a partnership with cellular phone provider Amp'd Mobile to bring its content of sitcoms, news clips, comedy and reality television shows to cellphones.
The partnership deal comes as CTIA, the wireless industry's trade organization, kicks off its major annual trade show in Las Vegas this week. There, content companies such as Walt Disney Co. are expected to make big announcements about new ways of offering video content over faster Internet connections on phones.
Programming targeted at a specific audience -- youth, teens, the elderly or various ethnic groups -- is helping to create growth in the wireless industry. Increasingly, mainstream providers such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp. see a market in wholesaling their network service to companies like ESPN, which then design and market their own brand of phones to specific groups, like sports fans.
With 200 million cellphone users in the United States, there is an increased push to make the content available on those phones as varied as the programming offered on cable television, said CTIA spokesman Joe Farren.
"Content providers have seen what wireless has been able to deliver for the music industry," Farren said. Last year, 10 percent of global music industry's sales came in the form of ring tones, and that continues to grow, he said. "What's coming up next is the video."
Amp'd Mobile, which launched last year, uses Verizon Wireless's high-speed EVDO network to sell music and video entertainment over its phones to its target market of 18- to 24-year-olds.
In addition to mainstream programming such as ESPN, Fox, NBC and MTV, the company has content from the "Ultimate Fighting Championships" and from Dub Magazine, which is an aftermarket car-parts periodical that focuses on customized cars. "Amp'd is all about offering an open platform for interesting content," said Seth Cummings, senior vice president for Internet content.
The new gay and lesbian content, called Logomotion, will include shows such as "Noah's Arc," which is about four friends in Los Angeles; "Trip Out," a look into gay-friendly hot spots around the world; and "Real Gay Stories," a behind-the-scenes look at Logo's documentaries and reality series.
Its service, which will be included as part of Amp'd Mobile's monthly package, will also include special programming, such as a standup comedy series created exclusively for mobile viewers. Mobile delivery of the content can also help an emerging network such as Logo to expand into markets that don't or cannot subscribe to its programming through digital cable television, said Logo general manager Lisa Sherman.
"Our users are interested in our brand," she said. "I think they want to consume it whenever they want, wherever they want."