Mobile Gets Menacing with Live Ultimate Fighting

Mobile phones can make good weapons, and now thanks to an Amp’d Mobile, Viacom’s Spike TV and Ultimate Fighting Championship tag team-up, pugilists can use them to learn new moves live as they happen. As part of a partnership to promote Amp’d’s newly-launched broadband mobile service and Spike TV’s new mobile content offering, the two will offer a live simulcast of martial arts show Ultimate Fight Night for Amp’d subscribers.

Viacom, Spike TV’s parent, is an investor in Amp’d Mobile.

The no-holds-barred Ultimate Fight Night spectacle will take place tonight at The Joint in Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The battle will test the might of Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine, Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar, Josh “The Dentist” Neer and others.

During the mobile simulcast, movie trailers from Paramount Pictures, The Weinstein Company, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Studios will supplement Spike TV’s broadcast commercials. “Amp’d is evaluating advertising but we don’t want to offer it in an overt way, with straight commercials,” noted Seth Cummings, Amp’d Mobile’s SVP for Internet content.

The partnership involves Amp’d acting as the official wireless sponsor of UFC and the exclusive mobile provider of Spike TV’s The Ultimate Fighter series content. The program showcases Amp’d’s broadband network, in a bid to lure new subscribers to the wireless service. It also lets the male-focused Spike TV dip its toe into the mobile waters. The cable network intends to follow up the live simulcast with Amp’d with a cross-carrier effort to deliver short sports, gaming and comedy clips of SpikeTV programming.

“Our male viewers are the same demographic that is most rapidly adopting new mobile technologies and we are excited to introduce them to additional content as we continue to launch new action-oriented programming throughout the year,” said Kevin Kay, executive vice president and general manager of Spike TV, in a statement.

Amp’d, which launched nationwide in January, has set its sights on the young, early-adopter demographic. While other mobile content distributors provide coverage of sporting events like up to the minute scores, play-by-play and analysis, Amp’d has been streaming live sports and music content to its subscribers. The company has streamed live supercross race video as the title sponsor of the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series/World Supercross GP, and also holds the exclusive U.S. wireless video broadcast rights to MotoGP worldwide, including the live U.S. event broadcast this July. Amp’d showed its first live pay-per-view wireless UFC event broadcast in November 2005

“People are definitely increasingly interested in live [mobile content],” suggested John Mansell, senior analyst at media research firm Kagan Research. “The general consensus is that [mobile] video that’s going to really be successful will be sports, news and adult programming, the same stuff that’s been successful in cable TV.”

Amp’d has formed relationships with ESPN, FOX Sports, College Sports Television, SPEED, and other sports media firms to deliver content from trackside motorsports footage to surfing conditions through live camera feeds.

But the company isn’t relying solely on sports content. Last month, the company broadcast a live concert featuring pop groups Fall Out Boy, The All-American Rejects and Hawthorne Heights, enabling subscribers to send text messages that were displayed on screens behind the stage. Amp’d also plans to broadcast comedy shows from Boston this month, according to Cummings.

Spike TV is a division of Viacom’s MTV Networks, which is an investor in Amp’d Mobile. Other media company investors in Amp’d include Universal Music Group and Columbia Capital.

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