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NBC's Heroes places mobile at center of marketing strategy

NBC?s ?Heroes? is extending its superpowers to mobile for a fourth year with exclusive content for wireless customers who are fans of the show.

The science fiction television show has teamed up with Sprint to provide exclusive content to the wireless carrier?s customers before the broadcast airs each Monday night. After the 30-second content is broadcasted on television, the video gets posted on to become part of an interactive story running in conjunction with this season?s episodes.

?Mobile is another device like the PC Web or interactive TV or anything else that can deliver digital content,? said Stephen Andrade, senior vice president of digital development and general manager of at NBC Universal, Los Angeles. ?It?s small and portable and for us it makes sense to combine it in our overall marketing plans.?

Heroes is a drama series about ordinary people gaining extraordinary superpowers. It is in its fourth season on NBC.

NBC is one of the leading broadcasters nationwide. Owned by General Electric, the New Yor-based network has dedicated WAP sites for all of its shows, though not all programs are as heavily promoted on the mobile platform as Heroes.

Sci-Fi = Wi-Fi
All of Heroes? mobile content is sponsored by Sprint and branded with the carrier's logos.

Heroes and Sprint have worked together on mobile promotions in the past, including last year?s create-a-superhero initiative.

The villains from this season work out of carnival. Mr. Andrade said that created Flash games and more interactive mobile content to go along with the theme.

NBC also serves interactive SMS alerts. Audience members can sign up by texting the keyword HPLAY to short code 62288 at any time.

Calls-to-action for the SMS program are featured during broadcast with commercials from Sprint and and on NBC's Web site.

Before the program airs each Monday, opted-in audience members will receive a reminder message to tune in. During the program, NBC sends out SMS alerts with plot trivia questions, polls, production insider facts and messages from characters.

Every week viewers will be asked to confirm they still want to be part of the service. NBC also gives Sprint users the chance to win exclusive content such as deleted scenes or a behind-the-scenes photo gallery.

Heroic calls
Robert Angelo, NBC Universal director of production for Web and mobile at, said that smartphones have changed the way shows can tie mobile into a marketing strategy.
?This year we?re able to focus our efforts on smartphones as opposed to last year when Sprint didn?t have a lot of smartphones,? Mr. Angelo said. ?Now we?re focused on the Palm Pre.?

Games on feature hidden clues for users to text in to receive more information and dive deeper into the Heroes experience.

The Heroes interactive SMS offerings have received 50 times more opt-ins than any other show on NBC.

Mr. Andrade said that Heroes? audience is more tech-savvy than the average TV viewer and they are more inclined to really embrace mobile components, which is why the network has so heavily invested in mobile for the show.

?Our philosophy at NBC, the network and is we want to be wherever our customers and fans are,? Mr. Andrade said. ?We don?t see mobile any differently than we see the Web, and it?s only going to continue to grow.

?For us, the cool thing about mobile is even more people have phones next to them on couches and we can touch them while they?re watching their favorite shows,? he said.