Monkeys will bring you the news at ape thirty

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The Independent Online

The mobile content company ROK has launched a free mobile television service aimed at replicating the success of the YouTube website on the mobile phone.

Attempting to tap into the market for zany mobile content, ROK also plans to launch a news channel next week presented by computer-animated monkeys and a channel devoted to content submitted by the public.

The "Monkey News Network" will use a Reuters audio-feed that will be lip-synched by computer animated simians, including a gorilla wearing a sheepskin jacket reading the sports news.

Bruce Renny, the marketing director, said he hopes the irreverent concept will appeal to younger viewers.

UK consumers can currently access subscription-based TV services using their mobile phones, but the content is limited to what is available through the specific network. In contrast, ROK's FreeBe TV is available on a mass-market basis. Users need a phone that can handle internet access and a mobile phone contract that includes a data bundle.

The service attracted 30,000 hits on the day it was launched and ROK is in talks with advertisers regarding banner advertising and station sponsorship.