Fremantle phones in content deal

Unscripted TV giant goes mobile

HOLLYWOOD — FremantleMedia is making the jump to the very small screen.

Unscripted TV giant has signed a deal to produce original content for a new mobile entertainment channel it is creating with wireless media company Mobliss.

Fremantle will work with its network of producers and internal staff to create shortform content specifically for cell phones. It will also distribute clips from its 9,000-plus-hour library, starting with its first show for Mobliss, “Baywatch Best Beach Moments.”

“We will create things to exist in the mobile space only, but we also hope some of the successful stuff will lead to the TV brands of the future,” said FremantleMedia Americas interactive veep Keith Hindle.

Fremantle and Mobliss are jointly investing several million dollars to develop Thumbdance over the next several years. They are closing deals with two major U.S. carriers to offer Thumbdance as either a subscription service or pay-per-download for clips.

Short comedy clips

Hindle said that based on its experience with mobile content in Europe, Fremantle will focus primarily on short, comedic clips that can rapidly spread via word of mouth for Thumbdance. As such, it will likely cull amusing bits from its library of reality TV and game shows like “American Idol,” “The Price Is Right” and “Da Ali G Show.”

Thumbdance has already signed licensing deals for outside content from online video distributor Ifilm and animation company JibJab.

Fremantle and Mobliss will split revenue from Thumbdance subscribers and potential advertising in the future.

Mobliss already works with Fremantle to provide text message voting technology for “American Idol.”

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