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Britney Spears Lovers Will Soon Have A Chance To Join A Newfangled Wireless Fan Club
December, 7 2001

MSNBC, 12.07.01

Britney Spears lovers will soon have a chance to join a newfangled wireless fan club — complete with phone calls from the pop icon, chatty text messages, and maybe even an early listen to a new track. Spears, Justin Timberlake of *NSYNC, and a few other pop stars have inked a deal with JCOR Entertainment, which is hoping create a flood of such “wireless fan clubs.”

WITH WIRELESS COMPANIES desperate to create new revenue streams to pay for over-expanded networks, Britney Spears might be able to help. At least that’s the idea behind JCOR’s wireless fan clubs, although the company has yet to decide precisely how it will deliver the content, according to spokesperson Steven Lux. Recipients will actually subscribe to the service (rates haven’t been set) for the right to get Britney wireless.

“A part of this program is the personality that will come through,” Lux said. “It might be a text message. It might be a voice message left by Britney, say a 90-second update backstage from her. She might give you fashion tips ... it will be all things relevant to fans of Britney.”

Lux understands the power and draw of big brand names on young consumers. He spent 12 years working for video game maker Acclaim Entertainment, where he landed big franchises like Mary Kate and Ashley. So taking Spears to the new platform was a natural.

“Being the first to know when concert tickets are going on sale in your city, hearing a new song before it’s released or getting a backstage update from a celebrity like Justin Timberlake on your cell phone is a powerful touch point for music fans,” Jed Alpert, JCOR president, said in a statement. “Given the ubiquity of cell phones and the growth of the youth marketplace, our initiative will take branded, wireless entertainment to the next level.”

Lux conceded that the company currently has no business deals in place with wireless carriers, but he said such a deal wasn’t necessary to launch the product. Phone calls can be sent directly from JCOR offices or another partner, Lux said, adding that the program is similar to the mass voice-mail messages left by political candidates before elections, but with an important distinction — recipients will have “opted-in” to receive the calls.

“It doesn’t have to include a carrier,” Lux said. “That business model is not floating around out there right now, where the carrier does the billing and splits the revenue ... There are a variety of carriers and retailers are struggling to generate new revenue. We’re defining a model right now.”

The product will launch, with or without wireless carrier help, by the middle of next year, Lux said.