Speakers’ Corner: MNOs as web kings


For the first time in the history of media, a single entity – the network operator – has visibility across all media consumption channels (voice, browsing, video, games, music, messaging, social networking, search).

Network operators, therefore, have the ability to become the central point for distributing “relevant ad-impressions” across all those channels to single users.

This position gives operators the best chance of challenging the web giants Microsoft and Google as they attempt to migrate from the web to the mobile world, and plan to beat operators to making money from a mobile audience.

One emerging trend for 2009 is that the operators are starting to take mobile advertising seriously.  Several have made advertising a key part of their strategy moving forward.

In the UK, they have all banded together under the GSMA umbrella to launch MAP (Mobile Advertising Programme), its mission to build and promote trust and confidence in mobile advertising by delivering consistency and transparency in formats and measurement.

The objective is to create a true, common currency and to accelerate mobile advertising. Essentially, all operators have agreed to provide anonymous aggregated traffic statistics and audience data to a trusted third party. 

This initiative will provide the advertising and media community with “census” level data, unparalleled in the media world. (Compare it, for example, to the TV world, where audience levels are still measured by a panel of a few thousand viewers.) 

With the MAP initiative, brands and media buyers will not have to rely on panels and surveys to price advertising units; they will know exactly the size and scope of the audience they are targeting. 

And because of the operators’ ability to leverage customer data, they will be buying advertising on the most performance-based media the world has ever seen.

There are several reasons why the operators hold the key to turning mobile into a media:

1. They can zero-rate traffic associated with an ad being delivered on a phone. This is an obvious, yet often overlooked, point.

People do not want to pay to watch an ad and brands do not want people to have to pay for a brand experience.

Operators are the ones billing users for services (even with premium SMS, the cost appears on the operator’s bill) and, as a result, they are the only ones capable of delivering on true ad-funded models.

Full article in Mobile News issue 433 (February 23, 2009).

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Patrick Parodi is chief marketing officer and EMEA general manager at mobile adverting platform provider Amobee