HP Sponsors Reuters Mobile News

In an attempt to grow its wireless audience, Reuters Monday shifted its mobile news alert service to a completely ad-supported revenue model. Computer giant Hewlett-Packard will exclusively sponsor the service for the next two weeks.

Reuters two years ago began offering news and business alerts via mobile devices, but only to paid subscribers. But increasing ad rates over the last year on a Reuters companion service for PDAs and smartphones through AvantGo convinced the company that all of its mobile content should be free. "This is the direction where the [mobile] industry is going," said Stephen Smyth, vice president, emerging media at Reuters. He declined to say how many subscribers Reuters Mobile has, but expects its audience to increase by orders of magnitude.

For its part, H-P plans to promote its color laser printers through banner ads on the home page, index pages, first page of articles, and full article pages. The banners will carry the slogan "HP Brilliantly Simple." The H-P ads on Reuters Mobile are part of a broader online campaign launched by the company this week that also includes ads on video sites such as YouTube, iFilm, and Google.

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Smyth added that Reuters is in discussions with other potential advertisers for the mobile service. Eventually, the company expects to rotate multiple mobile advertisers. Among existing advertisers on the Reuters Web site are Nasdaq, TD Ameritrade, GM, and Dell.

Banner ads on Reuters Mobile offer the ability to click through to a landing page with additional information from advertisers. Landing pages can also be customized to allow users to take action.

Other new features on Reuters Mobile include daily news from eight new content areas, and stock quotes and weather forecasts that carry airport delay information for hundreds of cities.

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