New interactive 3G services on offer.
French mobile operator SFR is enhancing its wireless music offering through an exclusive partnership with Universal Music Group.
The two Vivendi Universal-owned units unveiled last week an agreement that will see Universal Music supply content for the operator's new third generation mobile phone services.
SFR will be able to add 100,000 titles from Universal Music's catalog to the 300,000 tracks already available for download through SFR's 3G service. According to SFR CEO Frank Esser, this is the biggest wireless music offering available in France. The cost per download is set at €1.50 ($1.80).
"Music is at the core of our strategy," Esser said.
SFR claims to have gained 150,000 subscribers to its 3G system since its launch in November, 50,000 of which joined in June. "We are confident that we will reach our goal of 500,000 customers by the end of the year, and this partnership will undoubtedly help us," Esser added.
Esser said he anticipates France's music mobile business to treble from €200 million ($238.9 million) to €600 million ($716.7 million) in three years.
In addition, SFR and Universal Music will develop together Label Studio TV, a mobile TV portal which will allow users to access interactive programmes and video services.
Label Studio TV will provide customers with several exclusive channels. The first to be available is the Interactive Music Channel, which launched in January 2005 in the U.S. It will be adapted and broadcast exclusively through this platform in Europe.
Other channels will offer dedicated content, such as shots of artists such as rapper Snoop Dogg in a recording session or German metal act Rammstein backstage. SFR and Universal Music are also considering opening videoblogs. SFR deputy director Jean-Marc Tassetto said the mobile medium "is appealing to artists."