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Newsletters & Co.

Deutsche Welle Goes Mobile

Want your news on the go? Not always by a radio, TV or computer? Deutsche Welle is about to enter the world of multicasting, which means info will be just a cell phone away.

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The future face of news transmission?

MCAST is as easy as one, two, three. One: read incoming text message on cell phone. Two: click on "news update." Three: Watch the phone display panel for all the latest news and views from Deutsche Welle.

But what's it all about, this multicasting, or MCAST as it is known for short? In essence, it's the latest effort to make it even easier for 21st century media junkies to get their fix.

"We have created a platform for people to comfortably consume media content," explained Wilfried Runde, the Internet specialist in charge of Deutsche Welle's MCAST project.

Simple Stuff

Currently in its pilot phase, DW's MCAST could soon be offering multimedia phone owners regular news reports and up-to-date news briefs from DW-WORLD three times daily. The thought of beaming television reports to tiny cell phone displays might seem beyond today's technology, but in fact it's very simple. Cell phone providers -- which for MCAST are Orange and Vodafone -- put together an information packet for potential subscribers. In the case of Deutsche Welle, this is a mixture of the broadcaster's own material and film trailers and music videos from private providers.

The difference between current state-of-the-art transmission technology and MCAST is that with the latter cell phone providers just send the information package once, and any number of subscribers can click and receive. It's a financial dream come true for the providers, who stand to cut transmission costs by 70 to 90 percent.

Assuming the service is sent to 100 people, normally transmission would cost €1 ($1.20) per subscriber, or €100. "But with the new technology all that's needed is a single line at a maximum cost of €30," Runde told DW-WORLD. And at just €5 per month for news updates delivered three times a day, the service won't send cell phone bills into the stratosphere.

Interesting beginnings

A hundred guinea pigs are currently giving the technology a try in Israel, and in June, a second pilot will be launched in Athens, where Vodafone is also a partner. Runde sees it as a good opportunity for Deutsche Welle to reach even more people around the globe.

"For the first time, we can offer the mobile transmission of our information to a new user group," he said.