Timberlake on the phone via V Cast deal


Justin Timberlake is taking his image mobile.

Timberlake on Friday un-veiled a mobile video channel on Verizon Wireless' V Cast video service called JT-TV during a pre-Grammy party at the Avalon in Hollywood.

The move makes Timberlake the first artist to have his own branded channel on the V Cast service, with content developed exclusively for it. He will provide four areas of programming: fashion, music, movies and lifestyle.

Filming for the mobile TV service began at the Avalon, where Timberlake and childhood friend Trace Ayala launched their William Rast fashion line, complete with fashion show and musical performances.

JT-TV will begin airing in March with fashion and music programming, followed by movie and lifestyle content added in May or June.

Timberlake's manager Johnny Wright said the idea grew from Timberlake's days with 'N Sync, when the group was touring through Europe and saw the more advanced media capabilities of mobile phones there at the time. When discussing tour sponsorship possibilities with Verizon, the idea resurfaced.

"We started asking questions," Wright said. "How much further could we take this? Could we get involved in V Cast, because we've always wanted to do something called JT-TV. It was just at the right time, and it just clicked."

For Verizon, this is the first of what it hopes will be many artist-branded opportunities on its V Cast service, designed to drive awareness and adoption of the mobile video format.

"Artists are looking for ways to market themselves outside of music, and we're always looking to see who's coming up and spot what makes a good fit for us," said Verizon director of advertising and sponsorships Suzy Deering, adding that Timberlake was the ideal launch partner. "He's an amazing artist for us to work with because he's already got a vision of who he is as a brand. It makes it easier for us to adopt that brand into our objectives and our audience."

Antony Bruno is a contributor to Billboard.