Mobile versions of newspaper and TV station sites – WAPsites –have mostly been corporate vanity projects, generally attracting just a couple of dozen regular users. But as the demographics for enhanced mobile services has graduated from kids downloading ringtones and wallpaper to adults using news and weather, commercial prospects have improved.
Crisp Wireless CEO Boris Fridman, a venture-backed enabler of media mobile sites since 2000, scoffed when I suggested the number of users at most newspaper sites was still so low. He suggests that a number of local properties attract much higher numbers, perhaps deep into the hundreds (my guess).
“It is still very early in the game,” Fridman acknowledges. But there are beginning to be enough users to move away from subscription models and to rely more on advertising. While few local advertisers are currently demanding to get on the phone, mobile ad campaigns are now running for car companies, including Honda, Chrysler and Mercedes Benz, and packaged good makers like Procter & Gamble and Unilever. Most use short-form videos.