'The Fockers' Livens Up Ring-Back Tones

Jan 26, 2005 (11:01 AM EST)

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Life is a gram less tedious now that phone callers can listen to entertainment or ads while waiting for someone on the other end of the line to pick up.

This is a marketing trend that's picking up momentum. Preferred Voice Inc. said Wednesday it's selling a service that enables phone subscribers to play audio clips of the comedy Meet The Fockers as ring-back tones.

Ring-back tones, for anyone old enough to remember Ma Bell, are like hold music that's played before anyone even picks up the phone. In this case, over the sound of ringing, one is pleasured by one of several particularly hilarious audio moments in the movie. The callee picks up and the clip ends.

This is different than ring tones, which is what the callee hears until he or she picks up the line.

Preferred sells personalization services to telcos. The Fockers clips are part of a list of customization options that it sells to wire-line or wireless providers. They, in turn, can give subscribers the ability to play the clips over their ring-back tones.

Both are very popular service options among baggy-pants and cap-askew wireless subscribers. The Fockers clips are available to customers of First Cellular of Southern Illinois, Preferred says. The company, through its telco clients, can give subscribers the ability to play music clips, sound effects, their own audio message, or even ads as ring-back tones.

Versaly Entertainment bought the rights to the clips from Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures, which made Fockers. Versaly is in the business of selling personalization, messaging, multimedia, and games for mobile phones. It signed an agreement allowing Preferred to use the Fockers clips. Details of the agreement weren't made public. The same is true for what Preferred charges telcos for access to the Fockers clips.