Latest handsets open the way for mobile advertising

Advertising works best when it conveys an impactful and relevant message to its intended audience, ideally at the point of purchase or at a time when the individual consumer is considering their buying options. Advertising also needs to intrude into or interupt the consumption of the editorial content, e.g. commercial breaks during television programmes or ads facing editrial pages in magazines. This helps to explain many advertisers' preference for running rich media ads rather than traditional static banners online.

The latest generation of multimedia mobile handsets opens up mobile advertising. RIM, manufacturers of the Blackberry, today announced plans to integrate a camera into future models. According to a report by Informa Telecoms & Media, global spending on advertising delivered over mobile phones is expected to grow to $11.35 billion within five years. This could provide new revenues to mobile operators, many of which, especially those in Western Europe and developed markets, are struggling to raise revenues amid intense competition and falling prices. Advertising could be packaged around games, music downloads, television clips and even be used to subsidise calls and messaging to make it popular among customers.

The traditional pact that commercial broadcasters have had with their audiences, whereby viewers implicity agree to watch a 2-3 minute commercial break every 15 minutes in return for free programming, looks like it could be extended to mobile. However, unlike any other media channel, mobile offers advertisers the opportunity to target by location in real-time. Perhaps this level of customer 'intimacy' maybe considered a little too intrusive by many users.

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