Everything Everywhere, O2 UK and Vodafone could shake up the mobile advertising market in the UK if their proposal to form a data-driven ad network is approved. The mobile advertising plan was revealed as part of a document issued by the European Commission (EC) for consultation on the operators' mobile wallet joint venture, known as Project Oscar.
The document, seen by Marketing Week, outlines an arrangement that would allow the three operators jointly create a one-stop-shop to sell mobile ad inventory that would include the key aspect of providing demographic targeting based upon the anonymous profiling of the operators' combined 37 million UK customers.
The mobile ad network would be offered in parallel with the joint m-wallet portal and also across third party publishers' mobile websites, according to the report.
Reaction by industry insiders to this idea has been negative, according to Marketing Week, seeing the move as an attempt to control the UK mobile ad market by making a "land grab" of the entire segment. One insider said, "any ad network could be under threat" because of the scale of Everything Everywhere, O2 and Vodafone's data inventory.
While the integration of demographic targeting into a mobile ad campaign is likely to be expensive, such a plan could threaten existing mobile ad networks such as Yahoo!, Fourth Screen and AdMob, which is owned by Google.
The EC document outlines the operator proposals to advertisers and agencies as being based around push text messaging, coupons and vouchers and display advertising of assets. However, the EC will be examining the proposals within Project Oscar closely following complaints by 3UK, which said the project is "discriminatory" since the three larger operators involved represent more than 90 per cent of UK mobile subscribers. The EC has until April 9 to decide whether to approve the plans or to investigate further.
UK operators submit mobile wallet plan to EU as 3UK wades in
Report: European mobile ad traffic up nearly 50% in 3 months
Visa Europe acquires 15% stake in Mobile Money Network
Telefónica to launch mobile wallet service by mid-year
NFC starts to take off in Europe, but challenges remain
Visa pushes UK operators to join London Olympics NFC payment scheme