The two leading German music channels MTV and VIVA are to cut back substantially on ringtone advertising on their networks. From October, MTV has committed to not broadcast any ringtone advertising fr

The two leading German music channels MTV and VIVA are to cut back substantially on ringtone advertising on their networks. From October, MTV has committed to not broadcast any ringtone advertising from 4:00pm to 11:00pm; VIVA will follow suit in March 2006.

It follows the launch last week of a German government ringtone campaign intended to curb youth indebtedness.

Sources at MTV and Viva say the networks' decision is based on concerns that traditional advertising customers are becoming apprehensive because the monotonous ringtone advertising may be annoying viewers.

Furthermore, the program directors believe that aggressive ringtone advertising may lead to the defection of their target group.

The German government last week launched its Netzcheckers.de Web site, from which users can compose ringtones free of charge for three months. Three different ringtones can be downloaded onto the mobile telephone for unlimited use.

"We must not allow children and young people to be lured into indebtedness by expensive downloads of ringtones and logos," comments Peter Ruhenstroth-Bauer, junior minister at the German ministry of families. Ruhenstroth-Bauer adds that the initiative is designed to educate young people on how to both save money and to use their cell phones as creative instruments.

According to Germany's ministry of families, some 82% of young people in Germany own a mobile telephone and spend some €190 million ($232 million) on downloads or ringtones each year.

Analysts estimate market-leading ringtone vendor Jamba is to be spend more than €80 million ($97 million) this year on ringtone advertising; a representative from Jamba could not be reached for comment.

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