SBJ/20100308/This Week's News

CBS Sports adds carrier networks to MMOD mobile

CBS Sports will distribute this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament via mobile carrier-enabled networks and have a free application serving  highlights, scores and news, all part of an expanded wireless version of March Madness on Demand.

Last year, the first time CBS distributed MMOD through mobile platforms, the network sold a $4.99 iPhone and iPod touch application that provided live game video using the device’s Wi-Fi connection. User reviews were decidedly mixed as to the quality of the streams, depending heavily on the strength of those Wi-Fi connections, but the expansion to mobile broke new ground for MMOD.

CBS Sports and the network’s mobile division this year have developed a $9.99 application for the iPhone and iPod touch that makes live game video available via Wi-Fi or carrier 3G and EDGE networks, permitting an adaptive streaming that automatically calibrates video to the strength of the wireless connection. This premium-level version will also include score alerts and live game radio broadcasts from Westwood One.

A free, “lite” version of the MMOD application, sponsored by Microsoft, is also being released that will include on-demand game highlights, live scores and brackets.

Both versions of the MMOD application will have direct access to Facebook and Twitter to enable sharing of content.

“We think there’s going to be a big change this year in the accessibility and true portability of this application with the inclusion of the carrier networks,” said Rob Gelick, CBS Mobile senior vice president and general manager.

Gelick said he wasn’t concerned about any user pushback from the doubling of the MMOD application price. MLB Advanced Media, which aided CBS in the creation of the MMOD applications, last week released its 2010 version of the MLB.com At Bat application at a $14.99 price point, and it immediately shot up to the No. 2 position among paid applications in Apple’s iTunes App Store.

“People will pay premium prices if it’s a best-in-class application, and we obviously believe this is one,” Gelick said of MMOD.

CBS will also distribute tournament video through the Flo TV mobile service, an offering that started last year. Games will be available on the wireless television service through several major wireless carriers as well as on Flo’s new Personal Television device.

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