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Weather in your palm

Weather Channel is latest provider to tap use of Mazingo to reach PDA users 7/14/2002 08:00:00 PM Eastern

New media may not be the buzz-inducing sector it was three years ago, but that doesn't mean it's old news. Mazingo, a company that delivers content to personal digital assistant (PDA) devices, expects to offer PDA users access to content from more than 20 television networks and programmers by the end of the year.

NBC has signed on to deliver fall TV promos, and The Weather Channel last week tapped Mazingo to bring video weather forecasts to the PDA. This week, Healthy Solutions, a program seen on CNBC and the Health Network, plans to deliver content through Mazingo as well.

"The fact that we can bring the Weather Channel in its complete form to PDAs is a dream come true for us that allows us to merge everything that was our brand," says Weather Channel Vice President of Business Development Jody Fennell.

Healthy Solutions
and The Weather Channel applications point to the potential of the PDA medium. Healthy Solutions
will include video segments from the weekly show, and new health video segments will appear weekly. The Weather Channel will offer regionalized video weather forecasts and a national forecast updated every few hours. The incentive for the updated content? Each provider gets a financial cut based on the popularity of its site.

"We focus a little more on forecasts rather than current information," says Fennell, "but building it wasn't all that difficult."

Mazingo VP of Channel Development Carmine Gallo says getting content onto the service doesn't cost providers a dime, outside of the time to get it ready. He adds that anyone with basic HTML experience can create a channel and deliver content.

Mazingo has a large variety of free content, he says. The multimedia content from TV networks would fall under the company's subscription service. The cost to users is $4.95 a month, with 33% of subscription revenues shared among the providers of content, he says. The money is paid out based on the popularity of the content.

"It gives content providers a reason to keep the content fresh. Every month, we send them checks," he says. Mazingo currently has 12 multimedia content providers. Gallo says there will most likely be a limit on how many can sign on.

Mazingo is compatible with MPEG-1, RealPlayer and Windows Media Player, making it available on PocketPCs and other PDAs. Kagan World Media research says Mazingo's revenue-share model could earn content owners more than $1 million a year once critical mass of 250,000 subscribers is reached. That number represents only 0.25% of 2003 estimated 100.6 million global PDA-user population converted to paying portal subscribers.

Content providers post a copy of the media file on their own video server or on Mazingo's servers, according to Mazingo Chief Technology Officer Bill Dettering. When the PDA is synchronized with the PC it is connected to, it grabs the video file and copies the file into the PDA in the MPEG-1 format.

 

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