CBS to sell breaking news to mobile phone subscribers

CBS News will launch a new service this week that sends breaking news and entertainment video alerts to mobile phone subscribers. Initially, the news service, called CBS News to Go, will cost 99 cents a month, while a similar service from Entertainment Tonight, called E.T. to Go, will cost $3.99 a month.

CBS News has previously offered free text alerts for mobile users on Verizon Wireless’ V Cast service. The new subscription model is designed to test whether consumers are willing to pay for breaking news events. The entertainment alerts are to be provided by Entertainment Tonight, a Paramount Television production and property of CBS.

At first, each service will send subscribers up to five alerts a day, but the plan is to allow users to customize the alerts to their personal interests, the New York Times reported. An alert service tied to CBS Sports is also in the works.

In the weeks ahead, CBS is planning to introduce several other mobile ventures. Some, including a soap opera in three- to five-minute episodes meant only for mobile phones, hew closely to the company’s existing businesses. Others do not, including a subscription service offering images, games, ring tones and sound effects, and a product that will let people create animated images of themselves that they can send as messages to friends.

In addition to the CBS announcements, FOX Mobile Entertainment has launched Mobizzo, a new destination for mobile content, featuring content from FOX television shows such as "24", "Family Guy" and "American Dad".

Mobizzo is currently available on Cingular and T-Mobile. Pricing for online content on Mobizzo will range from $2 for single program downloads to monthly subscription plans costing about $6. Mobizzo will not only feature television-related content, but also games and music. Feature film content will also be available.

Sprint also announced last week that it would begin offering subscriptions to Comedy Central, MTV and VH1 audio and video clip programming for $5.95 each a month.

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