Between the Lines: Mobile ads have potential

The mobile operator 3's move to sell advertising across its network (page 2) could open up a host of new opportunities for advertisers. But it is early days, and even 3 has said it needs help from a media partner to try to work out how the medium can best be exploited.

The roll-out of mobile TV will provide some obvious branding opportunities: ads could run around 3G programming in the same way they do on conventional TV, although they would have to be adapted for 3G technology. Brands could sponsor original broadcast content, making it free to air for subscribers.

Rivals to 3 will warn against overloading the network with ads before there is enough content available to support them (and there is likely to be further debate about whether subscribers will need to opt in to be targeted) but there is no denying the potential of the medium.

In April, Andrew Robertson, the chief executive of BBDO, identified mobile as "the single most important medium that people have". Advertisers just don't know how they are going to use it yet.

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