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Sprint launches mobile sports, entertainment video service



Sprint phones will soon pipe in video news clips

By Laura Petrecca, USA TODAY

Sprint announced Tuesday that it will create its own sports and entertainment "network" for Sprint mobile phones with daily video news clips on topics that range from fashion to football.

Initially, the "Sprint Power View" service will offer about 25 minutes per day of made-for-mobile videos that emulate Entertainment Tonight and ESPN's SportsCenter. Content will be stored for 24 hours for access on demand.

To produce the programming, Sprint has teamed with production company and talent agency IMG Media to hire "anchors" such as former tennis champ Jim Courier and sports broadcaster James Brown and has opened a New York City studio.

Previously, Sprint — and most of its competitors — have built mobile video offerings with clips from traditional media outlets such as NBC and Fox.

Cellphone video is still a "nascent" area, says Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin. Yet, he says, consumers will "realize that they can do much more on their phone than just talk."

Golvin says Sprint's edge is that it understands what content works on phones. "Nobody wants to watch Desperate Housewives on a mobile phone," he says, "but they will watch a one or two-minute clip that has sports highlights or breaking news."

The carrier likely will promote other products and services on Power View programming, Burris says. "If we have a Friday movie review, there's no reason we can't link to other content such as Talladega Nights screen savers and ring tones," he says.

The service also gives Sprint an additional outlet for content it already has acquired, such as exclusive video from its five-year, $600 million deal with the NFL.

Down the line, Sprint could also sell ads, Burris says. It hasn't sold any ads yet, but Chase signed on to sponsor its March trial of made-for-mobile video with coverage of the NCAA basketball tournament.

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