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EXTREMELY PERSONAL: Ringbacks, caller tags push personalization to new levels, garner attention from startups

Personalization refers to the way consumers use mobile content as kind of a bumper sticker, telling others who they are and what they think. It won't be long, though, before users will be placing those bumper stickers on your phone-not theirs.Ringback tones were the...

Play it forward: Push ringers new way to customize ringtones

Some high-profile investors are wagering on Emotive Communications Inc. and its "Push Ringer."The Encino, Calif.-based company last week said it pocketed $7.7 million in a funding round from Warner Music Group, Bertelsmann Digital Investments, the D.E. Shaw Group and undisclosed angel investors. Emotive said...

‘Broken process’ in ringtone sales: EMI lawsuit against InfoSpace may underscore need for aggregators

Wireless operators increasingly are cutting ringtone aggregators out of the loop, opting instead to make deals directly with recording labels. But as EMI Entertainment World Inc.'s lawsuit against InfoSpace Inc. shows, the ringtone business may not be as simple as it seems.EMI earlier this...

Ailing InfoSpace ditches U.S. gaming studio

InfoSpace Inc. continued to consolidate its businesses with the announcement that it will sell off its U.S. gaming studio to Twistbox Entertainment for an undisclosed sum. Formerly known as Atlas Mobile Inc., the studio was the driving force behind InfoSpace's Play for Prizes business,...

EMI sues InfoSpace over ringtone royalties, licensing

Music publisher EMI Entertainment World Inc. has slapped InfoSpace Inc. with a $100 million lawsuit, claiming the buffeted mobile content company has been underpaying royalties and selling ringtones without proper licensing rights.The suit, filed Jan. 12 in U.S. District Court in New York, accuses...

Worst of the Week: Best of the week

Hello!And welcome to our Thursday column, Worst of the Week. There's a lot of nutty stuff that goes on in this industry, so this column is a chance for us at RCR to rant and rave about whatever rubs us the wrong way. We...

VCs pour more money into content firms, even as established players hit bumps

For mobile content players, these are either the best of times or the worst of times. Or, in some cases, both. Investment money continues to flow into wireless content and marketing. Thumbplay Inc., a direct-to-consumer aggregator, hauled in $10 million in a third round...

InfoSpace kills direct-to-consumer content biz

InfoSpace Inc. reported a net loss for the third quarter and announced plans to halt investment in its direct-to-consumer content business, including its recently launched Moviso storefront. Instead, executives said, InfoSpace will refocus on bringing its success in online search into wireless. Shares of...

InfoSpace kills direct-to-consumer content business following $46.7M net loss

BELLEVUE, Wash.—InfoSpace Inc. reported a net loss for the third quarter and announced plans to halt investment in its direct-to-consumer content business, including its recently launched Moviso storefront. Instead, executives said, InfoSpace will refocus on bringing its success in online search into wireless.Shares of...

New VC firm taking long-term approach

"Idealistic" isn't a word commonly associated with venture capitalists. But Brian Biniak, founder of the new wireless venture-capital firm Provenance Ventures L.L.C., believes there is a business case for making the world a better place. "Some people complain about it, and I decided that...

Revenue split dividing carriers, content providers

U.S. carriers are demanding more of a place at the content trough, content provides say, whittling away at already onerous revenue-share deals. And publishers are feeling the squeeze. Ringtone vendors and others have long complained about operators that pocket the lion's share of content...

InfoSpace buys Atlas Mobile

BELLEVUE, Wash.-The mobile gaming industry continued its contraction, with the announcement that InfoSpace Inc. acquired the assets of Atlas Mobile Inc., a provider of wireless multiplayer tournament games.The value of the acquisition was not disclosed."The acquisition of Atlas Mobile's multiplayer tournament game platform and...

InfoSpace buys gaming company Atlas Mobile

BELLEVUE, Wash.-The mobile gaming industry continued its contraction, with the announcement that InfoSpace Inc. acquired the assets of Atlas Mobile Inc., a provider of wireless multiplayer tournament games.The value of the acquisition was not disclosed."The acquisition of Atlas Mobile's multiplayer tournament game platform and...

Mforma, THQ Wireless make acquisitions

The wireless content business continues its rapid consolidation as two major U.S. players announced international acquisitions.The moves are the latest indication that wireless entertainment and application companies are no longer content to serve domestic markets.First, wireless entertainment heavyweight Mforma Group Inc. announced it purchased...

Mforma, THQ Wireless announce acquisitions

The wireless content business continues its rapid consolidation as two major U.S. players announced international acquisitions. The moves are the latest indication that wireless entertainment and application companies are no longer content to serve domestic markets.First, wireless entertainment heavyweight Mforma Group Inc. announced it...

American Greetings plans wireless division

CLEVELAND-Greeting card giant American Greetings announced it will form a wireless division headed by Bryan Biniak, a former executive from Moviso."We plan to exponentially raise the bar in the wireless space by leveraging the massive distribution network, marketing prowess and existing customer base of...

Wireless data arena consolidates with two separate acquisitions

LAS VEGAS-Two new acquisitions highlight the potential of the wireless data market, as well as the growing valuations for the players involved. First, wireless data mainstay InfoSpace Inc. announced it purchased mobile media company Moviso from Vivendi Universal Net USA for $25 million in...

Moviso to offer prepaid ring tones via 7-Eleven, AT&T Wireless

LOS ANGELES-Under an innovative new marketing agreement, wireless data company Moviso will offer prepaid ring-tone cards featuring musicians from record company BMG. Moviso will sell the cards through 7-Eleven and AT&T Wireless Services Inc."BMG recognizes the tremendous marketing and revenue opportunities in prepaid entertainment,...

Summer movies, wireless tie-ins continue

REDMOND, Wash.-The summer movie season continues to tie into wireless, with AT&T Wireless Services Inc. scoring an exclusive deal with Paramount Pictures for its upcoming "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" motion picture.AT&T Wireless developed a range of games, ring tones, screensavers...

Summer movies and wireless tie-ins continue

The summer movie season continues to tie into wireless, with AT&T Wireless Services Inc. scoring an exclusive deal with Paramount Pictures for its upcoming "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" motion picture.AT&T Wireless developed a range of games, ring tones, screensavers and...

Handango expands library to lure carriers with content

Content provider Handango expanded its library of wireless applications to include more than 10,000 ring tones and graphics, a move that places the company squarely in the wireless industry and a strategy that some think could create a significant business in the near future."There...

Moviso scores ‘Hulk’ licensing amid summer movie craze

Moviso scored an exclusive, one-year licensing agreement in the United States to offer wireless content based on the highly touted summer movie "The Hulk." The company launched a Web site to sell the content in conjunction with the release of the movie, offering ring...

Moviso to supply content to Motorola ‘moto’ site

LOS ANGELES-Moviso L.L.C. said it will provide content solutions for Motorola Inc.'s mobile media Web site, www.hellomoto.com. Moviso will supply a ring tone and graphics catalog, content bundling and retail programs. The companies also plan to engage in co-marketing programs, offer prepaid mobile media...

Moviso expands services through Landmat partnership

LOS ANGELES-Moviso L.L.C., which publishes entertainment applications and ring tones, announced it will expand in the location-services market through a new partnership with Landmat. The companies will team to sell location service capabilities to online consumer brands in North America."This relationship adds an important...

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