Through the partnerships, Verve will also create versions of newspapers' mobile sites geared to the iPhone's, and provide mobile video delivery across other popular smartphones including the BlackBerry. To date, the Encinitas, Calif.-based company has developed mobile sites for 450 local media properties that also include radio and TV stations nationwide. The new deals could more than double that total.
The mobile expansion reflects the high hopes the battered newspaper industry has for adding new revenue streams by delivering content via handheld devices. In particular, newspapers are expecting mobile to be a more suitable platform for charging for content than the Web, where access to news sites is generally free. But any revenue gains from mobile are unlikely to significantly offset the steep ad declines newspapers have suffered in print and online.
In addition to building mobile sites, Verve also operates a local mobile ad network covering the top 200 U.S. metropolitan areas that newspapers and other media partners can tap into. Overall, the company says it reaches more than three million mobile users through the local sites it powers and serves more than 47.5 million page views monthly.