Innovation That Matters

Jong Zuid: Coming to a cell phone near you


A Dutch debut -- soap opera by camera cell phone. Get your daily drama fix, wherever and whenever!

A while back we reported on Dutch cross-media company Media Republic’s plans to launch an interactive soap opera for cell/mobile phones. Now fully operational, the series, which goes by the name of Jong Zuid, reaches its audience via mobile phones (‘MMS’), the internet and MSN Messenger. Soap addicts register online and receive two episodes a day, with each episode consisting of 6 pictures and accompanying texts. Jong Zuid’s cast features famous Dutch soap celebs, with the script revolving around a group of youngsters living together in a dorm-like setting, resulting in plenty of drama, comedy, and everything else that interests hormone-driven teens. In fact, with MSN Netherlands as a powerful partner, hundreds of thousands have already checked out the website, and tens of thousands have subscribed to a twice-daily fix of web or camera-phone based ‘episodes’. Nice touch: subscribers can win a guest role, appearing with their favourite celebrity in one of the pics. How’s that for GRAVANITY!? So where’s the money being made? Camera-phone subscribers get charged EUR 1.10 per week (approx USD 1.20), but the real euros/bucks come from a host of corporate sponsors, who pay Media Republic for product placements and the exclusive rights to Jong Zuid related contests and promotions.


Given the fact that: (a) the whole world loves soap operas, from the US to Europe to Australasia to South America; and (b) camera-phones overtook their visually-impaired counterparts in numbers sold in the first half of 2003, with Asia truly going camera-phone crazy (source: Strategy Analytics), Springwise is quite confident in declaring that MMS may have found one of its first global killer apps. So if you’re in entertainment, telco or hawking your goods and services to the Always-On generation, hook up with pioneers like Media Republic, who are currently planning an international roll-out of the MMS series in cooperation with MSN.


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