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Friday, June 03, 2005
MTV to launch videos by mobile phone in Japan

MTV said it will begin launching short music and animation videos via mobile phones in Japan, saying the tech-savvy country would be a test on whether telecoms can be a new market for the music channel.

The service, to be called Flux, will begin June 30 by subscriptions on handsets using KDDI, Japan's second-biggest mobile operator.

Flux, which will give users both mobile and Internet accounts, will carry exclusive content such as short clips from Japanese superstar singer Hikaru Utada, who has sold more than 37 million albums and last year made her US debut.

"Japan has such a strong leadership in mobiles, such a vibrant consumer culture," said William Roedy, vice chairman of MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom, and president of MTV Networks International.

"It's amazing because you can launch here a new product and service and not only have impact in Japan but also influence the entire world," Roedy told a news conference.

Japan has been a leader in embracing third-generation telephones, which offers advanced services such as high-speed Internet and online banking by handset.

MTV said it was also looking elsewhere in Asia for growth.

"Asia is a driver of our digital strategy. Markets such as Japan but also Korea and China are important centers for learning and product development," Roedy said.

Tony Elison, senior vice president for digital media at Viacom International Japan, said the service would begin at a time that Japanese cultural exports were expanding.

"We decided to launch the new business in Japan whose popular culture has global influence. And Japan has leadership in the digital media industry in the world," Elison said.

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