Monday, February 27, 2006

CBS Intends to Ring In With Breaking News for a Subscription Fee

The New York Times reports that CBS "is expected to announce today the first subscription services that send news and entertainment alerts that include video clips to mobile phones." According to the article, "CBS News to Go service will be sold for 99 cents a month, while a service called E.T. to Go, focusing on entertainment news built off the show "Entertainment Tonight," will initially be offered for $3.99 a month. At first, each service will send subscribers up to five alerts a day, but the plan is to allow people to customize the alerts to their interests — for instance, the war in Iraq or the pregnancies of various celebrities. An alert service tied to CBS Sports is also in the works."

CBS also plans to "introduce several other mobile ventures. Some, including a soap opera in three- to five-minute episodes meant only for mobile phones, hew closely to the company's existing businesses. Others do not, including a subscription service offering images, games, ring tones and sound effects, and a product that will let people create animated images of themselves that they can send as messages to friends."

Charles S. Golvin at Forrester Research said, "The big question here is what people want to do with these things. There's a lot of throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks."