MySpace goes mobile with video

Free, ad-supported service allows views on many devices

MySpace users with mobile phones are about to find out if they can walk and watch TV at the same time.

On Wednesday, News Corp.'s online social network made video clips from its members' pages available for viewing on mobile devices including the BlackBerry Bold, Palm Centro, Motorola Q9, LG Voyager, Nokia N95 and Samsung Instinct.

Members will be able to look at video on their own home pages as well as friends' pages. They also will be able to view professionally produced video from TMZ, the celebrity news and gossip Web site owned by Time Warner; the National Hockey League; National Geographic magazine; satirical newspaper the Onion and others.

The free service will be supported by advertising. MySpace and many other companies are trying to exploit the small but growing mobile-advertising market.

MySpace declined comment on the project's cost or how much money it is expected to make the company.

"These are the big guys doing it, and they're going to make some noise about it," said David Card, a media analyst at Forrester Research, who called it a medium-sized deal in terms of significance. "Mobile is one of those things where people keep saying, 'Is next year going to be the year of mobile?'"

MySpace video will be sent, or "streamed," from the social network's pages, rather than downloaded onto mobile phones. For this reason, the clips will not be available on Apple Inc.'s iPhone, which runs downloaded video.

MySpace, one of the world's largest online social networks, plans to support mobile video downloads in the future, a spokeswoman said.

MySpace's growth strategy includes developing mobile-phone applications and international markets, as well as building up its music service. Acquisitions are central to this strategy, chief executive Chris DeWolfe told the Reuters Media Summit on Monday.

MySpace will work with technology from a company called RipCode to make video available on mobile handsets that have different technical specifications for handling video.

RipCode also will allow MySpace users to stop having to save their video clips in different formats, something the company said will save hardware, energy and storage resources.
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