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Looney Tunes due on teeny screens

8/06/2000 08:00:00 PM Eastern

Warner Bros. 'Looney Tune characters were first found on the big screen, then on the little screen, and soon, if Warner Bros. New Media and PacketVideo have their way, on the teeny screens of PDAs and cell phones.

The two companies have signed an equity investment deal and committed to developing content for wireless devices, the first project being four original animated series based on some of the Looney Tune characters.

Warner Bros. New Media Executive Vice President Kevin Tsujihara says there isn't a firm time line for when the service will start hitting a PDA near you, but he does expect the international market to get the first look, given the proliferation of cell phones overseas.

"Consumers will be looking for a much shorter experience, but the quality is there," he says. "That's why we started feeling comfortable building for the platform."

Tsujihara sees PacketVideo as one of the companies in a good position with MPEG-4 technology. "They have some very good proprietary technology, and they also have a number of significant relationships abroad, which we thought was important," he says.

"The initial business model will be more R & D," he explained, "but we feel it's important that we understand where this wireless medium is going to go. We wanted to put our toe in the water with putting out original content for wireless."

PacketVideo's technology enables distribution over wireless networks with bit rates as low as 14.4 kb/s as well as over 2.5-Gb/s and 3.5-Gb/s networks.

Besides the original content, there will be trailers for upcoming Warner Bros. feature films as well as promos for TV shows on The WB network.

The two companies also promise to explore developing other applications, including short video games, video trading cards, and greeting cards.

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