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Dial K for Kermit

Bandai Networks has come up with something else to keep kids entertained when they're away from their Gundam Wing toys. In August, the mobile and web content division of the Japanese toy and entertainment giant began offering 3-D pics and animated shorts of Kermit the Frog and other Muppet characters that can be downloaded directly to its customers' cell phones.
October 1, 2001

Bandai Networks has come up with something else to keep kids entertained when they’re away from their Gundam Wing toys. In August, the mobile and web content division of the Japanese toy and entertainment giant began offering 3-D pics and animated shorts of Kermit the Frog and other Muppet characters that can be downloaded directly to its customers’ cell phones.

The images and three- to five-second animated snippets, which only play on web-enabled cells like the i-Mode and J-Phone, are sent across networks daily in Japan. They are available to customers there as part of their regular monthly subscription service–however, users in Singapore have to pony up an additional US$0.17 per image.

Michele Martell, VP of business affairs at the Jim Henson Company, which licensed its characters to Bandai, says that although the guarantees for kids mobile content are fairly low right now, the potential is tremendous. ‘There are currently close to 39 million mobile net subscribers in Japan. By partnering with Bandai Networks, we are able to participate in the cutting-edge of content delivery that exists in that country, which puts us in a better position in the long run as this technology begins to reach other territories,’ she says. Martell adds that the company was in discussions with North American and European cell phone content providers about creating similar Henson-branded gaming content for those territories, but no deals had been finalized at press time.

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