Cellphone and media companies expect to see a sizable market for advertising on cellphones in coming years, with options including advertising-subsidized video services, top executives said on Wednesday.
Viacom Inc. , which runs MTV and Comedy Central, is working with major operators,
and plans to play a major role in the first trials of mobile ads in the next year.
Sprint Nextel Corp. , the No. 3 U.S. mobile provider, is keen to offer subsidized
wireless videos and local ads to cellphones.
"There's no question that advertisers are interested," said Viacom Chief Executive
Tom Freston, speaking in New York at the
"What amount of advertising are they willing to accept in exchange for lower
fees," he said.
As it aims to boost revenue with new features like video, Sprint Nextel is also
looking at technology and business models around providing advertising to people
using these services.
Sprint Nextel's chief technology officer Barry West pointed to the possibilities
for sending information such as special offers at a local Italian restaurant to
phones that can pinpoint the user's location.
Sprint could also offer its cheaper mobile video services if an ad is included,
its Chief Financial Officer said.
"There are some people who would be willing to have their services subsidized,"
Sprint CFO Paul Saleh said. Sprint will work on cellphone advertising in the next
couple of years.
Advertisers are also keen on the prospects for putting ads on cellphones and
particularly via mobile video services.
"It's a major opportunity." Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP Group Plc. ,
the world's second largest advertising and marketing company, said at the summit.
Sorrell said the methods of measuring how many people see the advertising have yet
to be determined, but that measurability was a key attraction.
"People will experiment," he said. "They won't make the decision to put millions
of dollars in it (immediately). They'll make the decision on an exploratory
Asked when it would become mainstream, he answered, "Quickly."