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Don't answer that call: Lionsgate looks to put 'Saw' on cells

September 11, 2008 |  8:01 pm

Ctlogo_5Lionsgate jumped on the cellular bandwagon today, reaching an agreement with a mobile content company to develop on-the-go entertainment based on the studio's films and television shows.

The studio, best known for low-budget flick horror franchises "Saw" and "Hostel," announced the partnership with the Spanish firm, Zed, which distributes ring tones, wallpaper and games through a network of 130 mobile operators, reaching over 50 regions and -- so Zed said -- 2 billion mobile subscribers worldwide.Ca_sawweb

Curt Marvis, president of digital media for Lionsgate, notes the deal allows the studio to bring its critically acclaimed televison shows, such as  AMC's "Mad Men" and the Showtime comedy "Weeds," to a new and, it hopes, fast-growing platform.

Partnering with Zed lends the studio expertise in mobile space, Marvis said.

Mobile content is an small but alluring business for the Hollywood studios, with a growing number of video-capable devices and speedier wireless connections setting the stage for watching movie and TV shows on cellphones. Of course, it's yet to be proved that consumers have the interest or patience to watch anything longer than ADHD-length snippers on their mobile device.

Marvis says he gets that there is no immediate payday.

"In the next two years, it's not going to change the fortunes at Lionsgate. But with a billion new (mobile phone) handsets sold every year these days, it's a distribution channel you can't ignore anymore," he believes.

--Dawn C. Chmielewski

Photo: A scene from "Saw"; Credit: Steve Wilkie/Lionsgate