SBJ/October 24-30, 2011/Media

SportOn rolls out video ring tones

SportOn, a small Swedish company that turns sports highlight clips into cellphone video ring tones, will launch its mobile phone application in North America and Europe on Wednesday.

The company has signed separate video content deals with the NHL, Red Bull Media House and Major League Lacrosse, as well as with a handful of minor soccer, badminton and table tennis leagues in Europe and Asia. A source familiar with the company said it is in talks with the NBA, MLS, NASCAR, WWE and the Big Ten Network to use video content.

Micke Jansson, CEO of SportOn, said the expanding video ring tone market is a natural space for sports highlights.
“Sports leagues are interested in video exposure, and we tell them if the phone rings five times a day, that adds up to 1,800 exposures a year,” Jansson said. “That means they have a whole other media channel.”

Jansson declined to discuss the terms of the deals with SportOn’s respective clients. A source familiar with SportOn’s deal with the NHL said it is a revenue share with no licensing fee.

The applications will be available for download for BlackBerry, Android and Nokia’s Symbian operating systems. Jansson said SportOn is in discussions with Apple to get the application onto the iPhone platform.

The application is free but customers pay for each video-tone download. In North America, a 10-second clip will cost $7, and a package of four clips will cost $14. “Based on the content the leagues provide we may change [the price],” Jansson said. “It may be too high.”

Jansson said SportOn now has 3,500 available video clips to download and that it adds 50 clips a day to its archives. The company is based in Stockholm and has a staff of six programmers. Retired Swedish hockey star Peter Forsberg has joined as a company partner and spokesman.

Christopher Golier, vice president of mobile marketing and strategy for the NHL, said the deal with SportOn represents another way to put video content into the hands of hockey fans. “We’re enabling fans to customize their experience on the most personal of mediums,” Golier said.

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