MySpace's Mobile Service The First Of Many From Fox
FIM already offers premium, subscription-based versions of MySpace through wireless carrier partners like AT&T and Helio. The new version works on all U.S. carriers, and allows users, free of charge, to send and receive messages and friend requests, comment on pictures and profiles, post bulletins, update blogs, and find and search for friends, as well as view or change their "mood" status. FIM executives said the move is in preparation for a time when mobile Web surfing is ubiquitous.
"Accessing the Internet from a mobile phone will soon be as common as text-messaging and voice calling, and it's FIM's goal to deliver these new free, ad-supported experiences," said John Smelzer, senior vice president and general manager of mobile at Fox Interactive.
Smelzer is betting on FIM's established carrier partnerships and its roughly 80 million monthly U.S. users for success in the mobile arena.
Clearly seeking greater profits from its mass user-base, MySpace just last week revealed plans to sell targeted ads using the personal information that its members provide on their profiles. The potential for mobile to generate ad-revenue is just as exciting a prospect for Amit Kapur, MySpace's vice president of business development.
"An ad-supported MySpace offering is a major component of our mobile monetization strategy," said Kapur.
For the initiative, FIM has enlisted mobile ad network Millennial Media to both sell and serve mobile-based ads, including custom sponsorship packages within MySpace and more traditional display-based ads with other FIM properties, such as IGN, FoxSports.com, AskMen and RottenTomatoes.com.
With Millennial, FIM plans to sell a limited number of charter sponsorships within MySpace's new mobile site over the next several months, then open all ad inventory by the end of the calendar year.
Significant barriers presently exist for any content or platform company seeking to profit off mobile advertising. According to one Forrester Research study, for instance, a mere 3% of consumers trust the mobile ads they encounter.