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Symbios, Ben Dover in U.K. Mobile Distribution Deal

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Jul 29, 2004 11:42 AM PDT    Text size: 
FAREHAM, England — The founder of Britain’s Ben Dover video series said Thursday that his company has struck a deal with mobile content provider Symbios Group for distribution in the United Kingdom.

Lindsay Honey, aka Ben Dover, said the deal with Symbios begins in August and he expects distribution to expand across Western Europe and the United States.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Symbios purchased the mobile distribution rights for the entire Ben Dover brand.

The 3-year-old Symbios of Fareham, England, has become a large player in Britain’s mobile adult content market and owns or manages numerous adult websites. The company also is involved with reverse SMS billing and data collection, and also is a content provider of ringtones.

The Ben Dover series is one of the more popular adult brands in Britain. The brand's videos are available on the Internet and also can be seen on the U.K.’s Fantasy Channel.

"Ben Dover is one of the first major brands with the right vision, positioning and popularity in the adult market, confirming the reasons why these new services are set to be a huge success,” Symbios Group’s Martin Montague said. “We plan to take the Ben Dover brand and give it access to new distribution channels setting the standard for the adult industry."

Montague said that Symbios will immediately market the Ben Dover series in England’s men’s monthlies.

Gartner, an industry research company, estimates that sexual content over mobile phones will generate $1.5 billion in revenue in Western Europe next year, or about 5.1 percent of the total market for mobile data.

Earlier this year, Netcollex, a British company that offers both soft and hard porn over cell phones, said that in 12 months it had signed up 67,000 customers to see a short porn video.

Vodafone, Orange, mmO2 and Virgin Mobile were present at May’s Adult Online Europe conference in Amsterdam. The companies are trying to find more revenue through the lucrative porn market.

Vodafone, the British company that is one of the world's largest mobile operators, has introduced adult content through its Vodafone Live portal in 10 out of the 16 markets where the portal is available.

In the United States, however, the combination of porn and next-generation cell phones hasn’t yet caught on.

Several companies are planning to launch adult content through Internet-ready wireless phones, but have yet to actually do it.

Henderson, Nev.-based Mobile Media gave the service a beta testing in the first two months of the year, offering adult video from Canoga Park, Calif.-based Wicked Pictures on the Sprint PCS network, but the company has not yet launched the service.

Sprint PCS became the first telecom in the nation to offer TV broadcasts through cell phones using MobiTV, a service offered by Berkeley, Calif.-based Idetic Inc, which offers 14 mainstream channels ranging from ABC News to CNET to CNBC.

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