March 31, 2007
Yahoo! Launches into Mobile with MobiTV Deal, Increasing Cross-Platform Advertising Reach

Yahoo! is expanding its advertising reach further, thanks to a big deal announced this week with MobiTV, the mobile television service provider. Yahoo! will sell advertising for the mobile platform's video advertising sales and will include not only video ads in the deal but also text advertisements and banner ads.

The deal comes along with Yahoo!'s announcement of new mobile publisher services which will allow publishers "to increase the discovery, distribution and monetization of their content on mobile phones," as Blake Robinson with Mobile Crunch writes. Robinson provides a detailed account of each component of the suite of services, concluding that "this is a vital movement in the charge toward the independence of information. Before the Mobile Web has even really cleared the gate, Yahoo! has developed a mechanism for users to conveniently distribute and monetize their content."

Yahoo! has been positioning itself in the advertising space across multiple platforms for some time. Back in November, I wrote about Yahoo!'s deal with a consortium of more than 150 newspapers, which would provide an effort to bridge print and online advertising, particularly in the classified advertising services. Considering how much online versions of classified ads had been a point of contention with traditional print newspapers, the deal was considered a significant one for finding a business model to bridge that gap.

The deal was part of Yahoo!'s move to bridge their strong presence in online advertising with a variety of longstanding advertising markets, including not only print but radio and television advertising as well. The move into mobile only furthers the cross-platform advertising reach that Yahoo! is putting together.

The newspaper consortium deal, which included many of the top national newspaper chains, focused on generating "national advertising revenue by creating a consortium through Yahoo!, rather than advertisers having to deal individually with newspapers or companies. The online career sections on each paper's site will be powered by HotJobs and co-branded by Yahoo! and each newspaper."

Meanwhile, MobiTV has been increasing its reach as well. Earlier this month, I wrote about the company's press release touting its increase of the MobiTV consumer base to 2 million international subscribers, up from 1 million less than a year ago.

The press release highlighted a deal with AT&T for realtime live TV delivery and with Sprint-Nextel Cable JFV for "cable-to-mobile employments, among others, leading to a great expansion in the company's reach. I wrote that "MobiTV's success is another indicator that mobile content is becoming more entrenched in media consumption behaviors."

Since Juniper Research predicts a surge in mobile content in the next five years, the deal provides both strong advertising infrastructure for MobiTV and expansion into a burgeoning content market for Yahoo!

Rick Mathieson on Branding Unbound writes, "It seems like a logical alliance. Yahoo does not want to get Googled in the mobile space [ . . . ] And with MobiTV's new ad capabilities, it makes for a compelling mobile advertising partner for just about anyone looking for compelling ways to provide contextually relevant, interactive advertising to today's most tech-savvy consumers."

The new ad capabilities that Mathieson is referring to is on-demand mobile delivery of television shows, thanks to a deal between MobiTV and NBC Universal inked recently.

Yahoo!, a member of the MIT Convergence Culture Consortium, was not contacted regarding this blog entry.