Walking the Runway to Mobile Video

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Continuing its drive to reach into the red-hot mobile content market, Bravo has unveiled a new Web site specially geared for display on two-inch cell phone screens.

Bravo has also launched video content with the Amp’d Mobile broadband cellular service — the first video distribution deal Bravo has inked with a mobile carrier.

The new mobile site, built using Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), offers fans of hit series such as Project Runway another way to keep up with the show when away from their television set.

A scheme that directs devices how to display a graphic or Web page, WAP ensures that the pictures, text and graphics are geared toward a two-inch-square cellular video screen.

A MINI SITE

“The WAP site is basically a mini Web site designed specifically for your phone,” Bravo senior vice president of new media Lisa Hsia explained. “It has nuggets of information with close-up images that are suitable for a small screen, shorter copy, and a design that is easy to navigate using your phone’s scrolling functions.”

Customers can either type in the wap.bravotv.com Web address on their Internet-capable phone or send an short message service note to Bravo and receive a reply with a link taking them to the site.

There they will see links leading them to WAP-enabled pages for three Bravo original series — Project Runway, Queer Eye and Workout.

Not only is the site geared for mobile phone display, the content is exclusive to the site. That includes pictures taken by the designers and interactive polls, all updated several times a week. The site will change over time as new shows debut.

As with prior steps into wireless content that include text-messaging campaigns and “Adopt a Character” interactive offerings built around Project Runway, Bravo is banking fact that its largely well-educated audience is also tech savvy, and more than willing to seek content on the go.

The WAP site went live in mid-July, and while numbers haven’t been released yet, Hsia said the number of users that have viewed the WAP content is strong.

Many are drawn to the hit Project Runway but “what is exciting is that people sample the other shows. So even thought they came to see Project Runway, they start looking at the Workout WAP site and the Queer Eye WAP site,” Hsia added. “So it is actually a great cross-platform opportunity for us.”

Bravo’s WAP site experience reflects the reality that people who are using advanced wireless data services — Bravo’s young, hip demographic — have their cell phone with them or near them all the time, including when they are watching television, according to Bernard Brenner, director of mobile content for mobile analyst firm Telephia.

The new WAP site therefore serves as a sort of quick entry gateway linking these users to the Bravo programming, he said.

“I know that Bravo is very supportive of the younger audience and moving toward that niche of the hipster, or the cool young viewer,” Brenner said. “So it doesn’t surprise me that they are taking more seriously maybe the mobile media vehicle.”

MORE WITH AMP’D

Meanwhile, Bravo’s mobile audience may expand with the content deal it struck with Amp’d. A mobile-virtual-network operator, Amp’d offers a young-adult-oriented broadband service using Verizon Wireless’s high-speed Evolution-Data Optimized network.

“We think it is a good match because their audience is young and tech savvy, and we thought it would be a good fit with our Bravo audience,” Hsia said.

Bravo is supplying Amp’d with five or six clips from its TV shows updated weekly. While it is the first mobile video deal struck with a carrier for Bravo, Hsia said the network is looking to expand that to other wireless services.

“As the technology evolves, we want to evolve with it,” Hsia said. “We want to be at the front of the line in terms of giving our tech-savvy viewers the latest technology and fun interactive wireless components to go with it.”

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