Ad-supported Mobile Content
By Carlo Longino, Fri Feb 04 23:45:00 GMT 2005

It's easy to throw some banner ads up on a Web site to at least try and offset costs, but it's a tall order on a mobile screen. Nevertheless, one well-known content brand is going to start offering free mobile content supported by ads.

New Media Age reports that The Financial Times is going to launch an ad-supported version of its mobile Java service, for which it currently charges subscription fees of $5, 5 euros or 4 pounds per month, initially with a brand-sponsored version of the software.

The head of FT's mobile services says advertisers are looking for integrated print and online campaigns, and the company can now bring mobile into the mix. The FT Java software is from Swedish developer Mediabricks, which supports a similar application, also ad-supported, from CNN.

While many mobile content providers struggle to find the right balance on pricing, the FT and CNN deals do suggest that it's possible to create ad-supported mobile content that is non-intrusive and acceptable -- something many mobile ads thus far haven't been. It remains to be seen how effective these types of sponsorships are, though, both for users and for advertisers.