As expected, mobile advertising dominated a lot of my discussions yesterday. And as the excitement mounts for this, Verizon Wireless is always there to serve as the voice of reason. The self-proclaimed cautious operator said it has been entrenched in mobile advertising trials throughout 2006 with top brands and publishers. "We don't want to repeat the mistakes of the Internet with various pop-ups and sizes of ads," said John Harrobin, vice president of advertising and digital media. But the carrier's studies concluded that customer usage patterns didn't change nor did churn increase when ads were present. And the brand recall was favorable. Still, we probably won't see major advertising on the Verizon Wireless deck until late this year or early next year. As you already know, Sprint is moving forward by allowing advertising on the WAP deck.
Interestingly, the majority of the off-deck text-link advertising campaigns Third Screen Media deals with run on the Verizon Wireless network, says COO Jeff Janer. Third Screen Media, by the way, is now one of the hottest companies at the show. I remember when it was the only one predicting the onslaught of mobile advertising, but it has prepared itself well. Since January, when it launched its MADX Advertising Platform that connects advertisers, publishers and carriers, Third Screen has been amassing inventory while carriers trial advertising. It is ready to go. Plus, its TSM Network is handling about 150,000 off-deck advertising campaigns, compared with 25,000 last year. The number of publishers has tripled from 30 million ad impressions last year to north of 100 million today. "What we saw in 2005 was major brands putting their toes in the water," said Janer. "Now we've seen some major brands putting more money into this and running second and third campaigns."
The question is: As off-deck advertising grows, what kind of role are carriers going to play? Will they be shut out of some lucrative revenues?
Our Oasis networking event last night was a huge success! A record 1,285 people came to literally rub elbows by the pool at the Marriott. Executives from Sprint Nextel, Cingular, Disney Mobile, NBA Interactive, AOL, Fox Interactive Video and Spike TV were among the attendees. Thanks to our sponsors MobiTV and mBlox. Did you see the cool mBlox ice sculpture? I hope you had a chance to try the Mobi Mojito drink with the blinking lime wedge. A lot of them made a spectacular light show in the pool. Check out pictures from the party at our Web site. I'm so pleased that we are serving our readers well as evidenced by the positive feedback all of us received about the work we are doing. As always, we welcome any comments you have! -Lynnette