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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

BSkyB in Vodafone mobile TV deal

Sky Mobile TV will allow Vodafone customers to view some of BSkyB's TV content on their third generation (3G) handsets from Tuesday.

Rival mobile firms O2 and Orange have already launched trial TV services in the UK and France.

And earlier in the month 3 launched an enhanced mobile TV service, including access to a range of TV channels.

BSkyB's deal will give it access to new markets as it seeks to move beyond satellite TV broadcasting.

'Triple play'

In an effort to expand its customer base, BSkyB recently snapped up internet firm Easynet for £211m ($374m).

That deal gave BSkyB access to the so-called "triple play" bandwagon of broadband, telephony and satellite TV services.

BSkyB's latest deal will give the company access to Vodafone's 250,000 3G subscribers in the UK.

"This is an innovative service that complements our existing pay-TV activities, extends the reach of Sky content and delivers an additional stream of revenue," said BSkyB chief operating officer Richard Freudenstein.

Tim Yates, Vodafone UK's chief marketing officer, added: "This is a highly significant day for both the mobile and television industries."

Unlike the forays by O2 and Orange into the mobile TV market, the Vodafone service is not a trial.

Meanwhile through a deal with MobiTV, 3 has expanded its TV offering with seven new channels: Kiss; Shorts TV; CNN; Extreme Sports; ITN; Cartoon Network and Bravo. TV on the move

In September, O2 began a six month pilot of technology which allows people watch TV directly on their mobiles.

Orange, meanwhile, began testing similar technology this month in France.

Vodafone's Sky Mobile TV service offers two packages broadcasting a combined total of 19 channels carrying news, sport, music and documentary programmes.

However, Mr Freudenstein said that some of Sky One's programmes, including popular shows 24 and Weeds, would not be available because of difficulties in obtaining the mobile rights to some programmes.

"This is a developing technology, so some of the channels do not have rights at this stage," he said.

The service will be free to Vodafone customers until 31 January 2006, after which date it will cost £5 a month.

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