Thursday, October 15, 2009

Linktone Hits A Stock Market Homerun With MLB Mobile Video Deal For China

Beijing based mobile entertainment content publisher (and Cabana Mobile Stock Index component) Linktone (LTON) announced a deal with China National Radio Mobile Media that will allow it to distribute video highlights from Major League Baseball games to mobile phones throughout China. This comes on the heels of a company announcement late last month that it had entered multi-year deal with Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM).

"This partnership is an early example of the many possible product applications arising from Linktone's recently announced exclusive license for Major League Baseball related interactive media rights. Baseball will be coming to the portable screen in China via 3G technology, enabling baseball fans to follow their favorite teams and players anywhere and anytime," said Hary Tanoesoedibjo, Chairman and CEO of Linktone.

The chain of events indicates to me that despite having secured the rights from MLBAM, the company needed to get approval from (and partner with) the national broadcaster before moving forward. As those who have done business in China know well, "partnerships" with the appropriate government agencies or appointees, and staying in their good graces, is critical to success/survival in that market (just ask MonsterMob). Linktone, which has been around since 1999, definitely knows the ropes and has a long and impressive track record of bringing Western content to Chinese mobile users.

Investors clearly love this news and Linktone's stock is up over 20% in late trading. Let's hope, for all the parties involved, that the country's nascent 3G networks are capable of delivering a compelling user experience and that Chinese fans get addicted to baseball on the very small screen.

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