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NTT connects for mobile content

5 companies will launch joint venture to produce TV shows

Mobile phone giant NTT DoCoMo will partner with the Fuji TV and NTV webs, as well as the Itochu trading house and the Sky Perfect satellite platform, in producing mobile content.

An NTT DoCoMo spokesman would not comment on the report in the Nikkei newspaper Tuesday but did not deny that the partnership deal was in the works.

According to the Nikkei report, the five companies will launch a joint venture company to produce TV shows for viewing on mobile devices.

Japanese webs have been broadcasting shows free of charge to mobile phone users since April, but the content is the same as that for their conventional digital TV services. NTT DoCoMo and its partners, however, plan to provide video programming especially for viewing on cell phones, as well as shows that combine text and video. Initially the programming will be beamed via Fuji TV’s service for mobile phone users, but eventually the partners intend to start their own dedicated mobile station, using analog bandwidth freed when Japanese TV goes all-digital in 2011. Revenues will come from ads and various for-fee services.

NTT DoCoMo acquired a 2.6% share in Fuji TV shares in January and the two companies have since been planning ways of partnering in mobile communications. Also in February, NTT DoCoMo and NTV announced a joint venture, D.N. dream partners, to invest in and develop content for mobile phones, with the two companies each putting up ¥5 billion ($43.5 million) in coin.

Fuji TV, NTV and other Japanese webs began so-called “one segment” (or in Japan “1 seg”) terrestrial digital broadcasts to mobile phone users in April of this year. The service is still in early days, however, with reception spotty, especially on moving vehicles, and the number of users small.

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