Fox News offers audio feed on cell phones


NEW YORK -- Fox News has rolled out a new premium service that will let anyone with a cell phone access an audio feed of the news channel.

The live feed will be available 24/7 by dialing "#FOXN" on a mobile phone. The service, which will start with Cingular, costs $2.99 a month plus applicable per-minute airtime charges.

Fox News has partnered with Single Touch Interactive, an Encinitas, Calif., company that has existing deals with BET and Univision. But Fox News will be the first news channel to have a Single Touch audio stream, said Jeremy Steinberg, vp digital media sales and business development.

It's far from the first mobile deal for Fox News. There is a special mobile Internet site that allows cell and BlackBerry users to access a quick-loading site. The channel has been available for more than a year as a live video stream on Sprint, with almost a million subscribers. Cingular also offers video clips. But with the Single Touch Interactive technology, the audio stream -- news and its daily primetime lineup including "The O'Reilly Factor" -- will be available to people without the expensive video cell phones.

"Everyone's talking about mobile video, and we're in that game and think that it's going to be a big business for us," Steinberg said Wednesday. "But when it comes to adoption of handsets, not everyone has the high-end handset to access video."

The audio stream is just one of several features for the new service. It also includes on-demand audio news, business and weather updates plus the ability to program the phone to call when a favorite program is about to air.

Steinberg also said that it's possible sooner rather than later that Fox News will begin to offer ringtones and voicetones.