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Jeep Bows Mobile Phone Channel

12 Dec, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Chrysler Group's Jeep brand today with MobiTV Inc. unveiled a mobile phone channel that will broadcast ad-supported original programming.

The two-month trial program will incorporate four live-action episodes of “The Mudds,” a fictional family of five that engages in several comedic activities in Jeep's new Commander vehicle. The Jeep channel is part of MobiTV's subscriber-based cell phone channel network and available on Sprint, Cingular and Alltel.

“The Mudds,” which originated online in October, can be viewed at www.wearethemudds.com.

Advertisers and content providers are increasingly focusing on the mobile consumer. by offering pay-per-view and ad-supported content on cell phones.

Emeryville, Calif.-based MobiTV offers repurposed TV news and sports programming from several providers, including ABC News, CNN, Fox News, Fox Sports, ESPN, MSNBC, CNBC, TLC, The Discovery Channel and The Weather Channel.

The Weather Channel is reportedly considering launching its own cell phone channel with original and licensed content.

Jeep, which hosts “The Jeep World of Adventure Sports” on NBC, eyes the mobile phone as a marketing extension of its long-time strategy of product placements on TV and in the movies. A spokesperson wouldn't rule out working with the studios for mainstream entertainment content.

“Consumers want to see information and entertainment when they feel like seeing it, in a format they feel comfortable with,” said Jeep spokesperson Suraya Desante. “There are all sorts of new mediums coming up that allow consumers to get their content on demand. We like to stay ahead of the pack with understanding our consumers and trying new mediums as they become available.”

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