Qmobile, Disney Ring Up Content Deal for Cellphones

(Walt Disney Television - Abc)
By Kim Hart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 21, 2006

"Scarface," the Wayans Brothers and Winnie the Pooh are among the Disney-owned content that will be gracing cellphones starting this week. Reston-based Qmobile Inc. , a mobile content provider, struck a distribution deal with the Walt Disney Internet Group .

Qmobile will offer Disney content -- including wallpaper graphics, ring tones and video snippets -- through its Qtones service and affiliated channels. The library contains soundtracks from movies such as "Finding Nemo" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl."

The company has been expanding its entertainment features lately to appeal to a younger, more diverse audience. Last week it announced a partnership with Star Media , publisher of Smooth and Smooth Girl, urban magazines for teenagers and twenty-somethings, to distribute edgy articles about pop culture, music videos and celebrity news. Some of the new features include dating programs and video fan clubs.

Qmobile has also added BET personality Melyssa "Jessica Rabbit" Ford to its lineup with live chats and photo shoot reels, bringing more than 50,000 subscribers in the process.

"We're really looking to become a mobile publisher, producing radio and interactive TV shows," said Charlie Minesinger, Qmobile vice president of business development. "Disney is one of the biggest media houses in the world, with some of the best urban and mainstream properties money can buy."

The company was formed in 2003 with $1 million in investments by local venture capital firms Draper Fisher Jurvetson , the Grosvenor Fund and Draper Atlantic . It has more than 350,000 subscribers and has delivered entertainment content to nearly 1 million U.S. cellphone users. Qmobile customers can download 15 items for $9.99 at http://www.qtones.com .

Network, Security Center Opens

Verizon Business opened its Government Network Operations and Security Center at its Ashburn campus Wednesday, becoming the largest center run by the telecommunications giant in Northern Virginia.

This is the first time network and security operations have been combined under one roof. Joining the operations will help network and security engineers work through problems in person, closing any gaps in communication as they maintain government systems, said Verizon spokeswoman Linda Laughlin.

"Sometimes security engineers will see a virus or a worm before network engineers," she said. "This way they will be working right next to each other to solve any issues more quickly."

The center, which broke ground in February, will house more than 100 employees, with the possibility of expanding to 300. Verizon is competing for the federal contract to revamp the government-wide communications system, an award that is expected to be announced early next year.

"The center was built as a cornerstone for that project," Laughlin said. "If we are granted the bid, we can fill all the positions and expand if we need to."

Verizon maintains information technology networks and security systems for 75 government agencies.

Herndon Firm Gets $20 Million

Command Information Inc. of Herndon received nearly $20 million this week to open Command Federal, a division geared to helping federal organizations adopt IPv6 -- the new addressing system that links devices to the Internet.

Command Federal is backed by Paladin Capital Group 's Homeland Security Fund, the Carlyle Group and Novak Biddle Venture Partners , which helped start the company in January. The new division will be led by David Kriegman, former SRA International chief operating officer .

Because its near federal decision-makers, Command Information is the logical choice to help the government adopt to the new system, said Kenneth Minihan, Paladin managing director.

Congress has mandated that government agencies switch to the IPv6 protocol by 2008. Last week, Command Information opened a training lab to teach businesses how to set up and use IPv6-enabled devices and networks.

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