December 8, 2005
New Age of Convergence: TV Network BET Strikes Deal to Generate Mobile Content, with Full-Blown Video as End Goal
Wireless content has a brand new player in the marketplace—BET. Signaling its most extensive branded product launch since the BET.com website in 2000, BET is expanding into wireless data and applications in conjunction with its mobile solutions provider, Motricity, a Durham, N.C.-based company that is one of the world's leading mobile content and solutions providers. The new BET wireless service will be marketed under the "BET Mobile" brand, and will include popular ringtones, graphics, games, alerts and social networking features.
BET is among the first mobile services to integrate downloadable ring tones into music videos as they play. The vision is to start with ring tones and progress into other personalized entertainment such as full-track music and videos.
BET, the leading cable network source for entertainment and information targeting the African-American consumer, is distributed to more than 80 million homes in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. BET will extend its leading media franchise into the wireless sector by giving viewers direct access to tailored and BET-branded mobile content via their mobile phones and the Web. By texting 'BET' to BETTV (23888) viewers will be able to access the BET Mobile storefront. In addition, viewers will be able to access popular ring tones and other mobile content via short message service and text message codes displayed during music videos and other programs or by visiting BET.com.
"BET viewers are sophisticated and heavy users of the latest mobile devices, services and content. For us to extend our programming and presence into the wireless market is the perfect next-stage evolution for the BET brand," said Debra Lee, BET president and CEO. "BET made history in 1980 as the first television network of its kind. Now we are ready to make mobile phone history in partnership with Motricity for content specially geared toward our audience."
"BET's move to extend its brand and content beyond its traditional channels to the wireless network is a bold and smart move," explained Roger Entner, vice president of wireless telecom for Ovum. "BET and other media companies are beginning to see the potential revenue and consumer loyalty advantages that platforms like Motricity's Fuel make possible. In turn, Motricity is broadening its footprint within the mobile ecosystem by accelerating the availability of off-net content with existing wireless data services."
"For the past 25 years, BET has been a pioneer in programming and has created the most widely recognized consumer brand in the urban marketplace. BET continues to serve as a model in the delivery of quality content and creation of meaningful experiences for its audiences," said Ryan Wuerch, chairman and CEO of Motricity. "While many media and broadcast companies are seeing advertising revenue from the promotion of ring tones and mobile content, visionary companies like BET are quickly realizing the potential for hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and the magnitude of the consumer loyalty that can be achieved by launching an integrated mobile service."