Free-for-life mobile content

Mobile content provider Pitch has launched the UK’s first advertising funded mobile content service. It offers mobile users ringtones, games and graphics at no charge; instead, subscribers provide personal profile data and consent to receive

targeted advertising from mainstream consumer brands in the form of an SMS, MMS or WAP push.
Crucially, Pitch says it will work with ‘best of breed’ content providers, offering them the same revenue share and royalties as the premium D2C space currently occupied by the likes of Jamster.

Pitch says 3m UK consumers are regularly paying to download ringtones, graphics and games. It wants to recruit these users, as well as new groups who have so far been reluctant to pay for mobile content.

David Warburton, Executive Chairman of Pitch, says: “Our research indicates that over half the adult population of the UK are receptive to receiving advertising messages on their phones as long as it is relevant to them, comes from a qualified source and contains good offers or incentives. Pitch is the first credible mobile advertising channel where brands can target actively opted-in and fully profiled customers across all mobile networks.”

In the States, Virgin Mobile’s SugarMama programme offers something similar – customers can earn free talk time by watching ads and taking surveys afterward.

Customers will also have the option of receiving SMS advertising with promotions and discounts. They get one minute of talk time per 30-second commercial message viewed.

Early takers include Microsoft for Xbox 360 and an American Legacy Foundation anti-smoking campaign. It will be interesting to see how that one pans out: as an Ovum commentator noted, “If you’re too cheap to buy a minute of air time how are you going to afford an Xbox?” Microsoft countered that the feedback is more important than sales of Xboxes.

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