Why Ring When You Can Vringo?
Ringtones are so 2005. At least that’s what start-up Vringo hopes U.S. mobile customers will say when the company makes its video ringtones more widely available in the United States next month. Vringo’s service allows users to send video clips to initiate calls to other subscribers instead of standard ringtones. The video ringtones, or “Vringos,” include music, sports, viral ads and cartoon clips.
Vringo expanded its music offerings in July through a deal with Universal Music Group that includes videos from artists including Snoop Dogg, Rihanna and 50 Cent. For now, the service can only be accessed through high-end Sony Ericsson or Nokia phones on GSM networks, but the company plans to expand video ringtones to more carriers and handsets in September.
The service is free while in beta, but Vringo ultimately plans to make money through a combination of user fees and advertising. Ads might take the form of brand logos similar to network TV “bugs” superimposed in a corner of the mobile screen.