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Disney Shuts Down Mobile ESPN

Mobile ESPN is the interactive world's other big closing of the day. The cell phone startup, backed by the Walt Disney Co., is closing down operations, hoping to reinvent itself as a content partner of bigger wireless carriers. The company had only been around since the Super Bowl, but was never able to attract enough demand to warrant the added cost per month of sports content. Mobile ESPN operated through an agreement with Sprint Nextel Corp., which it paid for wholesale access to the carrier's network, reselling a premium sports service to its subscribers. The company was one of many resellers in the cell-phone business, including Helio and Amp'd Mobile. The next step for Mobile ESPN will likely be to license its sports content to cell carriers providing their own premium content services. Weak demand for the Mobile ESPN product indicated that consumers just didn't want to pay extra for access to ESPN's content on their cell phones. Most of the same content could be accessed via one of ESPN's several cable TV channels, or on the Internet. The dissolution of Mobile ESPN has no bearing on Disney Mobile, the Walt Disney Co.'s other branded mobile-phone service.

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