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  • Overview
  • Reasons for Using Mobisodes
  • Limitations
  • Costs
  • Reach/Frequency
  • Scheduling
  • Impact
  • Audience
  • Companies Using Mobisodes
  • References


Mobisodes are short video clips, usually about a minute in length, but sometimes can be as short as 10 seconds, that are made directly for cell phones. Mobisodes are often associated with webisodes. The videos are usually created to be used as both mobisodes and webisodes. The difference between the two is webisodes are viewed on the internet and mobisodes are viewed on cell phones and mobile devices. The term "mobisode" was copyrighted by Fox (Hibberd, 2006). Mobisodes usually contain television content made specifically for mobile device that are sponsored by advertisements, although it is also common for advertisers to make their own mobisodes (Grego, 2005). Most mobisodes are available to download or stream on a cell phone, although some mobisodes are sent directly to cell phones via text message or e-mail. MobiTV is a company who delivers mobisodes and other video content to mobile devices. MobiTV offers mobisodes from huge television companies such as NBC, ABC, FOX, ESPN, the Discovery Networks and many many others. MobiTV offers live television from many of the same broadcast companies and is available on many cellular networks. Additionally, advertisers may also sponsor a mobisode as well as have its product integrated into the show as well. Toyota used this approach with Fox's hit mobile show "Prison Break: Proof of Innocence" which was a spinoff of the main television series "Prison Break." A ten second ad would appear for the Toyota Yaris before the mobisode, as well as have the car being incorporated into the show as well (Barnes, 2006).

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Example of a Toyota Yaris sponsored Mobisode

Reasons for Using Mobisodes

Many of the biggest names are already using mobisodes. With such popular programming available so easily on everyone's cell phone, advertisers are jumping at the chance to sponsor these mobisodes. In the last quarter of 2005, over 3 million people viewed videos on cellular devices (Fitchard, 2006). People are spending more and more time away from homes, which makes mobisodes a top choice for TV executives for delivering television content on a mobile device. Every media conglomerate has at several shows available to mobisodes. Mobisodes can incorporate the advertised product, such as Toyota's Yaris ads. Vice President for Marketing of Toyota stated, "Our partnership with Fox provides an exclusive portal to showcase Yaris to consumers in a fun way where they can discover more about the car on their own time." Although advertising time is more limited than television, there is only usually one sponsor per show or mobisode, meaning that a company's advertisement will not get lost in clutter.
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There are several limitations to using mobisodes as a source of advertising. Many people think of advertisements being sent to your cell phone as extremely annoying and intrusive. Since mobisodes rely on cell phone reception, video clips can lag or not work at all. In comparison to other forms of advertising, the size of the advertisement is extremely small too. Media tycoon Ted Turned stated his opinion on mobisodes, "You've got to have good glasses. I like my television a bit bigger." Although millions of people already use their cell phones as a video device, only 1.5% of cell phone owners used their cell phone to watch video (Fitchard, 2006) In addition to these concerns, mobisodes cannot be stumbled upon by viewers like television channels, instead must be seeked out and downloaded or streamed by consumers actively looking for a specific mobisode.

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Advertisers who create their own mobisodes have similar budgets to creating a television commercial. However, with mobisodes, the advertiser does not have to buy air time to get his message played, which could potentially save hundreds of thousands. The cost of producing a mobisode can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Usually, to advertise on a national television broadcasting network it could cost up to a million dollars. Advertising on mobisodes is much cheaper to the advertisers, since ad time is not only much shorter, but also limited to a specific audience. Almost all mobisodes are available to the consumer for free.


Mobisodes can reach an extraordinary amount of people. When LG used a mobisode to promote their "Chocolate" phone, they sent it out to 20,000 mobile phones per day for six weeks. The advertisement was eventually seen by over 4 million viewers. Over 1.5 billion cell phones are in use and last year aloe almost 700 million sell phones were sold. Cell phones sold over six times the amount of computers sold (Brown & B, 2005) Toyota's parternership with Fox Interactive Media gained Toyota access to 70 million viewers of Fox's media per day.


Network companies who produce mobisode shows usually air the mobisodes in between seasons of the television series. ABC's mobisodes of "Lost: Missing Pieces" aired in between the third and fourth season of the television series. Advertisers who create their own mobisodes to be sent out virally, such as LG for their new phone, usually release the mobisodes during the kickoff of their campaign.

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The extreme popularity of the mobisode led to the LG Chocolate phones selling out in stores and creating a waiting list to get one. Mobisodes sent out virally can reach millions of viewers in a matter of weeks or even days. The amount of cell phones in use is rapidly rising. More importantly however, is that the percentage of these phones that can play video is increasing too. Over 70% of cell phones can play video. With cell phones being extremely accessible, the amount of views mobisodes can get is incredible (Fitchard, 2006).


Broadcast companies produce mobisodes in every category from soap operas to reality TV to drama. These categories of mobisodes allow sponsors and advertisers to choose the program that appeals most to their target audience and advertise on that show. The variety of shows that broadcast companies make specifically for mobile phones has caused advertisers to be able to nail down their target audience almost as precisely as regular television programming (Fitchard, 2006). However, most cell phones that are used to watch video are usually owned by younger consumers, primarily ages 18-29 (Grover, 2006).

Companies Using Mobisodes

In 2006, Mastercard sponsored a series of 26 mobisodes of the Fox hit show "Bones." LG used mobisodes to advertise their "Chocolate" phones. Many other cellular phone companies also use mobisodes to help sell their product. Sprint partnered with CW to create mobisodes for different characters form the show "Smallville" (Stanley, 2008). Verizon partnered with Twentieth Century to promote their phone the "V Cast" with mobisodes from the TV series' "Love and Hate" and "The Sunset Hotel" (Grego, 2005). Many television companies create their own mobisodes to promote even more loyalty to their shows. Twentieth Television, Warner Brothers, CBS and ABC all promote television series with mobisode or webisode shows (Stanley, 2008). Even companies like Nicorette have released webisodes onto the internet and on mobile phones encouraging people to quit smoking (Mendleson, 2010)


Barnes, Brooks. (April 24, 2006). Toyota Aims Young, Sponsors Fox Spinoff For Cellphone Screens. The Wall Street Journal. B1.

Brown, E., & E., B. (2005). Coming Soon to a Tiny Screen Near You. Forbes, 175(11), 64-76. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Fitchard, K. (2006). The Making of the Mobisode. (Cover story). Telephony, 247(6), 36-43. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Grego, M. (2005). 'MOBISODES' STIR UP NATPE. Television Week, 24(5), 23. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Grover, R., & Sager, I. (2004). WHAT ARE YOU WATCHING ON YOUR CELL?. BusinessWeek, (3914), 14. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Hibberd, J. (2006). Shorter Shows for New Media. Television Week, 25(38), 18-20. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Mendleson, R. (2010). A SMOBERING WAY TO QUIT SMOKING. Canadian Business, 83(11/12), 20. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

Stanley, T. (2008). Sprint and the CW Mobilize Supergirl for Mobisodes. Brandweek, 49(14), 8. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.