Text messages can ad to bottom line

Source: Today | View Print Article

SINGAPORE, 27 June 2007: Mobile phone text messaging could come with advertisements later this year.

Affle, a Britain-based mobile technology company, unveiled its Short Message and Search 2.0 (SMS2.0) in Singapore yesterday.

In the new application, users can receive the latest news headlines or visuals via a content banner at the bottom of the screen as they compose a text message.

Singapore telco M1 will launch the service commercially this year, and to encourage its adoption, the service will be provided free to users, but will be supported by advertising.

“They get a much better, much more engaging consumer experience at the same cost as the old SMSes and with the same simplicity as the old SMSes,” said Mr Anuj Khanna, Affle chief executive officer and chairman. Users can choose to receive personalised content such as entertainment and sports news. The service also gives direct access to online search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

Unlike current mobile content services, users will not incur data charges for receiving content. They will be notified onscreen if charges are incurred for extra content such as wallpaper or video downloads. Mr Khanna said the service does not aim to spam the user with ads or be intrusive.

The rest of the region is likely to get the service within the next two years.

Mr Khanna hinted that online social networking services will be next.

SMS2.0 is currently compatible only with Nokia smartphones. Apart from the handset maker and M1, Affle has also partnered GroupM, a media company, to garner the support of advertisers.

Telcos, along with advertisers, have been trying to explore new advertising-based revenue streams from mobile services. SingTel launched a free advertising supported mobile email service last week.

SMS2.0 is the latest foray to capture the eyeballs of the digital generation.

Said Mr Neil Montefiore, the M1 CEO: “Advertisers are finding that young consumers are not reacting to the normal media channels … and might probably reject it. The mobile phone may be a way to communicate with the young.”

Source: Today | View Print Article