Advertising on Mobile Handsets: Who should be paying whom?

Sorrent announced a licensing agreement with Twentieth Century Fox to bring Fox film content to mobile phones. The first movie will be Robot. Sorrent will release a mobile game at the same time that Vivendi releases the console title. Sorrent and Fox will partner on other films, and the partnership will go beyond games to include wallpaper, ringtones, film clips, etc.

The question is: is this marketing for the film? content that should be sold separately? or both? I think the answer is eventually both, but should be advertising dollars in the near term. Today, it is content to be licensed - at least in this deal. Fox will collect a fee on each download associated with their films.

I think this deal will work for Sorrent. Sorrent produces wonderful mobile games (my favorite is Zuma) and is likely to generate a positive return on their investment even though film-based games have not been the top sellers that reach the casual game player. Carriers are eager for new titles and likely to help market them.

Will be interesting to watch in the long term, however, to see if selling this content is more beneficial to the film industry than giving it away as pure marketing.

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