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TCM turns to mobile for brand definition, extension

Turner Classic Movies has launched a suite of mobile applications  to solidify itself as a lifestyle brand.

TCM launched applications for Apple?s iPhone and iPod touch, Research In Motion?s BlackBerry and Google?s Android devices. The television network said fans of its content are evenly distributed across multiple smartphone devices and BlackBerry in particular indexes well with TCM viewers.

?The idea is to keep fans connected and engaged with TCM and to create a useful, meaningful companion to the network,? said Richard Steiner, vice president of new media and TCM Digital, Atlanta.

?Also, those of us who work here are lazy when we?re home and want to get information on the 300-plus films we play each month without getting off the couch and heading to,? he said.

TCM is a TV network that presents classic films, uncut and commercial-free. It is part of Turner Broadcasting System Inc., a Time Warner company.

Turner Broadcasting System Inc. creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media on TV and other platforms.

Classic companion
The application is designed, developed and run by TCM.  The technology platform underlying the application was created by WeComm.

The application, currently only available in the Apple App Store for $2.99, will be available for BlackBerry and Android devices in February.

Consumers can get a complete schedule of movies playing on TCM, with full-month views up to two months in advance within the application. It also features a schedule that can be personalized to each fan's time zone.

Also included in the application is an optimized version of the TCM Movie Database. There, consumers can find synopses, credits, trivia and detailed background information from the American Film Institute film catalog and fan comments.

Video features within the application include hundreds of movie clips, trailers and TCM promos.

These video offerings are presented in the original screen ratios, including widescreen content that maximizes the landscape-view option found on some devices, such as the iPhone and iPod touch.

Consumers can also find photo galleries for films playing on TCM, including original lobby card sets, behind-the-scenes production and publicity stills and original poster art.

In addition to the rich-media content, TCM?s MovieMorlocks blog has also been optimized for mobile and included in the application. Articles by TCM staff members about the history and making of nearly every film on TCM are also included.

Mobile branding
TCM said plans for updates include more videos and photos, complete access to TCM's entire movie databases and access to TCM Fan Community content.

Mr. Steiner said consumers can expect games and other content applications from TCM in 2010 as it recognizes mobile?s important place in its digital strategy.

The application is being marketed at, Facebook and Twitter. Future marketing efforts will be via the ecommerce store at, TCM email lists and the fan community at

The network is planning an on-air promotion of the application in March. 

TCM?s $2.99 price tag was placed to cover development and maintenance costs. Mr. Steiner said the application was created in the spirit of releasing a great product for TCM?s fans and whatever profit it makes will go toward creating additional mobile applications.  

?The app helps us share more of our content,? Mr. Steiner said. ?Actually, we have so much available that it?s difficult to choose what to put in the app. 

?Our content editors have fights over what to put in here,? he said. ?I usually want more sci-fi and cult, widescreen stuff, but that often gets outvoted.?