Ericsson's first big content deal: TBS

Ericsson's newly-minted multimedia division announced its first big content deal this morning. The division, headed by Jan Wareby, formerly the executive vice president of marketing and sales at Sony Ericsson, will collaborate with Turner Broadcasting System International to develop mobile content from TBS' various entertainment properties including CNN International, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. The deal is not exclusive.

The first product, CNN Mobile, will make its debut next week at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, and will be available to users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The service, which will be powered by Ericsson's content management technology, will be available both on- and off-portal.

The CNN service will include a searchable archive of 14 days and more than 2,000 stories as well as breaking news alerts and video news updates hourly using the "World News Now" moniker. TBS Senior Vice President, Digital Media Casey Harwood said during a conference call with analysts and media this morning that the service will involve video, but that the company has not yet seen enough traction in mobile video to make a huge investment in it. Harwood says that there are early indications of strong consumer appetite for mobile video, particularly with content such as news, sports and short-form animation and it plans to work with Ericsson to closely measure consumer interest in these services. In the short-term, however the company plans to focus on WAP-based applications and breaking news alerts.

According to Current Analysis analyst Peter Jarich, this first major content win for Ericsson's new multimedia division is an indication of what to expect from the division and he expects more partnerships like this to unfold. "Ericsson has focused on the delivery and content side of the business and this deal plays to the company's strengths," Jarich says.

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