Random House, Inc., a consumer book publisher, has announced that through Random House Ventures, L.L.C., its investment subsidiary, it has taken a significant minority stake in VOCEL, a wireless producer and content distributor. Two of Random House, Inc.'s other branded information imprints also announced separate but related licensing arrangements with VOCEL, enabling subscribers to access distinctive content from their mobile phones: Living Language, publisher of foreign-language self-study programs, and Prima Games, publisher of video game strategy guides. No financial details about the transaction are being disclosed. Random House will have no involvement in the day-to-day operation or management of VOCEL.
VOCEL currently has an exclusive worldwide content delivery agreement with The Princeton Review, an educational services company, which with Random House, Inc. also publishes a line of college test preparation books. VOCEL developed a technology it employs to facilitate the transmission of templated text-based messages to cell phones. Their Princeton Review product provides the student user with immediate performance feedback and error explanations and their technology enables parents to send SAT questions to their children as well as observe their progress on the Web. Subscribers to the Living Language offering will be able to learn words, phrases, and grammar, listen to correct pronunciations, and receive language exercises pre-scheduled throughout the day via the VOCEL interactive technology. With the Prima Games application, gamers will be able to access thousands of hints and tips from a variety of the most popular video games from their mobile phones.
Random House Ventures, L.L.C. was established in 2000 to invest in companies that complement the core publishing businesses of Random House, Inc. Its investments include equity positions in Xlibris, a self-publishing service provider; Audible, Inc., a distributor of digitally-delivered audio content; and Classic Media, which owns and manages more than a dozen family media brands such as VeggieTales, Lassie, and Casper the Friendly Ghost.