VZ Wireless Gets ‘Desperate,’ ‘Lost’

“Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” fans are into their shows. They host
weekly parties, use digital video recorders to search for hidden clues and
react to plot twists in chat rooms.

ABC and Verizon Wireless are betting that viewers’ interest will extend
beyond TVs and PCs to mobile phones. The network and carrier announced this week
new content sites on Verizon Wireless’ Mobile Web 2.0.

“The incredible traffic spikes at ABC.com tell us that fans of ‘Desperate
Housewives’ and ‘Lost’ can’t get enough of these series,” Bruce Gersh,
ABC’s senior vice president of business development, said in a statement.

The content will be housed under the “entertainment” tab of the Mobile Web
2.0 homepage and includes show recaps, character descriptions, show times
and links to premium content. Starwave Mobile, a unit of the Walt Disney Internet Group, produce and license the sites.

Verizon Wireless spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said the carrier doesn’t think
there’s currently enough demand to bring the entire episodes to the handset.
Sites like the ones introduced today are extensions of the shows.

For carriers who have built advanced networks, moving popular content to the
handset represents new revenue opportunities. Users will pay $2.99 per month
to the show-based mobile content; that’s on top of the $5 a month for Mobile
Web 2.0 plus airtime charges.

Verizon Wireless’s move is the latest to make popular TV content — be it
clips and features or the shows themselves — available on PCs, laptops or
handheld devices.

For example, Time Warner announced
plans on Monday to stream episodes from Warner Brothers television programs
free via America Online.

Verizon Wireless, which is owned by Verizon Communications
and Vodafone , is striking other content deals to make
Mobile Web 2.0 more attractive to customers.

Today, it also announced the availability of the latest version of Zagat’s
restaurant and entertainment guide, as well as three map applications from
MobileGates.

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