Cell phones ready for primetime

NBC Uni-MobiTV deal puts full episodes on mobile

Full-length primetime episodes will be available on-demand via mobile phones for the first time through a deal announced Wednesday by NBC Universal and MobiTV.

NBC series including "Heroes" and "The Office" will be sold via MobiTV for at least $1.99 beginning in the second quarter. MobiTV reaches 2 million subscribers through carriers AT&T/ Cingular and Sprint Nextel.

The a la carte offering will supplement a suite of five ad- supported channels NBC Uni will establish on MobiTV with shortform programming from Bravo, Sci Fi Channel, USA Network, Telemundo and mun2.

"This is an extraordinary partnership with MobiTV, and we're excited to be the first major network to offer our viewers wireless access to their favorite primetime shows on demand," NBC Uni Digital Distribution president Jean-Briac Perrette said.

Before the deal, MobiTV and NBC Uni had partnered on live linear feeds of MSNBC and CNBC, as well as a customized NBC Mobile channel and on-demand programming. Other MobiTV partners include CNN, ESPN and Fox Sports.

"This was a huge step in really moving into genuine premium television for the first time," MobiTV CEO Phillip Alvelda said.

Also available a la carte will be USA's "Monk" and "Battlestar Galactica." There also will be free full-length episode offerings, including NBC's "Friday Night Lights" and Bravo's "Shear Genius" and "Work Out."

Pricing is subject to change depending on which carriers subscribers use. A purchase makes an episode available for a 24-hour period.
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