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E! Channel Rolls Out IPhone, Google Android Apps

May 10, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Buoyed by rapid growth for its online and mobile audiences, cable’s E! Entertainment Television plans to launch a free app for the iPhone and the Google Android phone this week.
More apps, the downloadable programs that let cell phones access information feeds, play video and perform other functions, will follow for other Internet-enabled mobile devices.
The advertising-supported app will allow users to customize celebrity news updates and watch video from E! series including “The Soup,” “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and “Chelsea Lately.”
The E! rollout follows iPhone app launches from other networks including VH1, MTV, TNT and ABC News in the last year.
Networks are tapping into the smart-phone market of Web-capable, touch-screen mobile devices because it’s one of the few areas of growth in this recessionary year.
Apple’s most recent financials placed fourth-quarter iPhone sales at 4.3 million, up 88% from the year-ago period. For all of 2008, the company sold nearly 14 million phones.
One of the reasons consumers spend hard-earned cash on the iPhone is the app store, where users can download applications. Apple has reported more than 1 billion downloads of apps since last year.
The iPhone is the most popular smart phone, but it’s facing competition from new touch-screen phones including the Google Android, widening the market for programmers like E! who are developing apps. BlackBerry launched its app store in early April, while Google’s Android Market app store has been up and running for a few months. Nokia, Palm and Microsoft plan to introduce apps for their products soon.
“Mobile has been a growth area for us, and this is a natural continuation of that strategy,” said John Najarian, executive VP of digital media and business development for Comcast Entertainment Group, which owns E!
In the first quarter of 2009, E! Online delivered 43 million page views to 1.3 million unique users on mobile phones, double the number from the fourth quarter of 2008. The Web site reached 4 million unique visitors per month in the first quarter, up 20% compared with a year ago; video views online for the quarter reached 83 million, up 75% from a year ago.
“The app is going to be highly interactive and incorporate multimedia, video, photos and everything you see on our Web site,” Mr. Najarian said. “We have added personality so you can track and stay in touch with your favorite celebrity.”
The app will include video ads and display ads; E! said it expects advertisers from its other mobile products to be on board at launch.
The network has been landing new advertisers for online and mobile throughout the year, said Suzanne Kolb, general manager for E! Online. Current advertisers on E!’s mobile Web site include Maxim, Teleflora and Shutterfly.
Other networks are mining the iPhone and smart phone opportunity. In early April, A&E Television Networks launched its first iPhone app for History Channel, the Web series “DadLabs” started distributing its show via an iPhone app in addition to existing Web channels, and Paramount Digital planned to debut an app for the 1986 movie “Top Gun.”
“The Apple iPhone app environment provides a place where viewers and consumers of our content can access a more immersive level of engagement with our brands, be it through gaming, interactivity or deeper exploration of historical topics,” said Steve Ronson, executive VP of enterprises at A&E Television Networks. He said the network group is actively developing free and paid iPhone apps across its brands.

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