Mobile advertising - How soon?

A new report from Juniper Research into the likely success of mobile advertising seems at odds with recent comments made by a Nokia executive.

The Juniper study claims that mobile streamed and broadcast TV services will become the most lucrative delivery channels for mobile advertising by 2010. This might be correct, but Nokia's experience of mobile TV would indicate that the uptake of this service is much slower than anticipated.

Niklas Savander, Nokia's head of its Internet services, remarked that mobile TV was in a state of turmoil. "We have seen that there are multiple segments who are not interested in broadcasting, but rather in downloads. Roll out is also slower than we anticipated a couple of years ago."

This must bring into question the forecast made by Juniper that the total annual advertising spend on the mobile will exceed US$1 billion for the first time in 2008, reaching US$1.3 billion by the end of the year and rising to nearly US$7.6 billion by 2013. While these estimates include advertising revenues from sources other than mobile video, these are truly astronomical figures given that mobile video and advertising would seem to be very much in their infancy and remain financially unproven.

Regardless of this, the report's author, Dr. Windsor Holden, remained upbeat: "While advertising spend in the mobile environment is still extremely limited when compared to the budgets allocated to media such as magazines, television, cinema and the Internet, the opportunities it offers--personalised advertising with very high response rates, delivered to a device which is always in close proximity to the individual--will make it an increasingly attractive proposition for leading brands."

While advertising continues to support many differing media, the success of mobile advertising might need another turn of the technology wheel--including many more 3 or 4G iPhone-type devices with low-cost data tariffs--before we can see consumers accepting these 'intrusions' on the handset. -Paul