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New NBC Shows Can Be Previewed on PDAs

June 17, 2002|Reuters

NBC has found a novel way to promote its fall lineup for the small screen--by previewing its new prime-time shows on the very, very small screen.

The General Electric Co.-owned broadcaster has teamed up with San Francisco-based multimedia software company Mazingo Network Inc. to feed video clips of five new NBC shows directly to hand-held computer devices.

NBC said it represents the first time that a major television network can easily deliver video directly to mobile users around the world.

Under the deal, Pocket PC and Palm Inc. users who download free Mazingo software from the company's Web site at www.mazingo .net can view three-minute audio-video clips of the five new TV series NBC plans to launch this fall.

The clips package includes three new comedies--"In-Laws," "Hidden Hills" and "Good Morning Miami"--and two new dramas--the nostalgic family series "American Dreams" and the ensemble crime hour "Boomtown."

Mazingo, which was launched in October, offers subscription packages of video and multimedia content for viewing on personal digital assistants.

A spokesman for the privately held company said its service has 50,000 users worldwide, about half of them abroad.

Mazingo touts itself as being the first company to develop a copy-protection system for video content on PDAs.

Mazingo said it plans to announce new deals this week with USA Today, which will provide text headlines and daily video newscasts, and with Weather Channel Inc. for local and international forecasting services.

The NBC deal marks the latest in a recent string of ventures by entertainment companies to extend their content and brand into the wireless communications arena.

Walt Disney Co. reached a series of agreements with wireless companies to provide logos, text cards and ring tones based on Disney characters to mobile phone users in Asia and is seeking similar pacts with U.S. wireless carriers.

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