NEW YORK News Corp.’s mobile content operation is rebranding and reorganizing as it looks to expand into new territories and make mobile a key growth business for the conglomerate.
After recently buying out the 49 percent stake in mobile joint venture Jamba previously held by VeriSign, News Corp.’s mobile business will now be known as Fox Mobile Group. Mauro Montanaro, who has served as CEO of Jamba since January, heads FMG as CEO.
The News Corp. arm will have three units focused on mobile content production (Fox Mobile Studios), licensing to third parties (Fox Mobile Entertainment) and distribution (Fox Mobile Distribution).
The latter will house Jamba, the company’s brand throughout Europe, and Jamster, the brand name it uses in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Russia and Asia-Pacific.
“These changes will support accelerated growth and extend our global leadership in mobile content licensing, distribution and production,” said Montanaro, a former Nokia executive.
FMG also has opened a new office in Singapore that will service rapidly growing Asian markets. The firm’s headquarters are in Berlin, Germany, and Beverly Hills, Calif., and it serves 35 territories worldwide.
Montanaro touted News Corp.’s position as “the only media company involved in the mobile business from A to Z.”
He also said he expects the most growth next year from the U.S. and emerging markets. In the U.S., growing mobile data usage and hot devices mean the market is overtaking Europe in some regards.
For the first quarter, Montanaro targets the launch of a brand of mobile content that packages “compelling content,” mostly but not exclusively video, at transparent price points.
Asked if weak economic trends will make consumers less likely to pay for new content offers, Montanaro said he already has seen “a little bit of a slowdown” in Europe and Asia after September, but mobile can provide distractions and is still in its early stages in most markets. “We are still in what I call Mobile 1.0 mode,” he said. “We are still lacking real hits, and we’re targeting to produce and distribute such hits.”