Paypal dials up content phone deal

Online payment service gets friendly with MTV, Fox, Bravo

A new service unveiled Thursday could change the dynamic by which mobile entertainment is sold.

Online payment service PayPal will offer a text-to-buy program allowing customers to purchase entertainment snippets immediately by sending a text message. MTV, Fox Home Entertainment and Bravo are among those who will use its system for mobile transactions.

Previously, most customers had to subscribe to a monthly service like Verizon VCast or use company Web sites or other third parties.

The system, announced at wireless confab CTIA in Las Vegas, could make it easier for content outfits like cable networks to sell directly to consumers instead of working through carriers.

Warner Bros. already said it will do that for content related to its upcoming “Superman Returns” pic.

Some nets and studios have privately complained about the current system, in which the carriers handle billing and take a large chunk of revenue.

What could encourage nets is the popularity of PayPal; through eBay auctions and other transactions, company has built a reported 100 million-strong customer base.

Entertainment news continues to make headlines at CTIA.

Under a new deal, Ericsson’s mobile subscribers will be able to order movie tickets from ticket service Fandango via their cell phones by keying in a code from a poster. Service will be customized by zip code and also offer reviews and other info.

News follows launch of Forty Three Kix, showtime service for mobiles announced earlier this week that will be available on most carriers.

Elsewhere at the conference, wireless company Modeo made a splash with a phone that receives live digital TV signals. So far most programming is pre-packaged clips from the nets. Company expects the service to be available later this year, though what television provider will offer the service is unclear.

Disney, which had previously announced its mobile service MVNO, made headlines with more details of its family-skewed phone package. The service helps families keep in touch — and, presumably, markets Disney-related products.

Company is following up on a smaller experiment with ESPN, which, like this system, leases spectrum on providers in the name of branding.