RealTime IT News

Verizon Offers Music Videos to Go

Verizon Wireless and Warner Music Group announced an agreement to offer music video downloads, potentially carving out a much needed new revenue stream for the mobile provider.

Subscribers of V Cast, the carrier's new multimedia downloading service that operates on Verizon's third-generation wireless network, will be able to download music videos from Warner's catalog of artists.

"We believe services like V Cast, which employ 3G technology, will quickly become one of the most important and popular distribution platforms for music and music-related content," said Michael Nash, senior vice president Internet Strategy and Business Development at Warner Music Group.

Verizon and the privately held Warner Music Group would not comment on the financial terms of their agreement.

The launch of the service marks the first music video download store ever available, wireless or via the Internet, in the United States, according to a Verizon Wireless and Warner Music statement.

"Warner Music Group's extensive music collection features some of the hottest new artists, as well as classic favorites, and we're ecstatic that Verizon Wireless is able to provide that video and audio content to our V Cast customers," said John Stratton, vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless. "V Cast on Verizon Wireless' EV-DO network enables us to deliver crisp, clear audio and video content for customers to enjoy while they're on the go."

The new video service comes at a time when wireless carriers are looking for new revenue sources. As increased competition continues to flatten profits on wireless services, providers are seeking to add more value to their networks.

As previously reported by internetnews.com, statistics compiled by the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, Federal Communications Commission, Telecommunications Industry Association and Wilkofsky Gruen Associates indicate revenue growth is on the decline and will flatten out in the next three years among wireless carriers.

However, the report said it wasn't all bad news for the wireless providers. The number of users cellular, digital and Wi-Fi subscribers increased 10 percent from 148.1 million in 2003 to 163.1 million in 2004.

The collaboration between the wireless and music industries appears to be a natural fit for both. While wireless has struggled with stagnating revenues, the music industry has waged its own battle to recover revenue after years of sagging sales due in part to illegally downloading tracks.

The service, which costs $15 a month, is available for the LG VX8000, Samsung SCH-A890 and CDM8940 phones. The carrier plans to update its musical videos at least once a week and make about 12 videos available at any one time for $3.99 each.

Warner Music has said the deal with Verizon does not prevent it from selling its content to Verizon's rivals, such as Sprint and Cingular Wireless .