It's another sign of our ever-increasing technological world. If you are a network executive and find that your television viewing audience is shrinking, what do you do? Well at least one television station has made the decision to air soap operas in a brand new way - on cell phones. But don't expect to see Erica Kane or Reva Shayne on your Nextel any time soon.
Mediacorp, a state-owned television firm, and media regulator Media Authority of Singapore, will be broadcasting three-minute soaps on third-generation (3G) mobile phones later this month. The Chinese soap, called "PS I Luv U," will air be broadcast over the course of 30-episodes and will eventually air as a 90-minute television program sometime next year. The broadcast will be available to subscribers in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan.
There are no known plans by any US broadcasters to offer soaps via cell phones. In fact, the United States has not been as quick to jump on the 3G bandwagon as other parts of the world. In Japan, cell phone users can use their handsets to order items from vending machines. In the US, Sprint PCS and Verizon offer their users access to content such as movie trailers, news and weather forecasts.
3G cell phones have suffered their share of setbacks. Many cell phone subscribers do not live in an area covered by the new technology and pricey handsets have kept many from upgrading their phones. The difficulties echo a similar roadblock experienced by online provider SoapCity. The web site, which recently dropped coverage of all but two daytime dramas, offered downloadable episodes of four soaps. High licensing fees and limited access to online subscribers with hi-speed connections prompted the site to scrap the service earlier this year.