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September 16, 2008

100 million users in six months

GLOBAL – The other day Charlie wrote asking about whether Nokia was still in the phone business. He looked at a bunch of stuff, but selling advertising wasn’t on there. But it should have been.

Today news reaches us of the latest publishers to join Nokia’s own mobile advertising sales network the Nokia Media Network, including AFP in France, RTL in Germany, Grupo Prisa in Spain, Telegraph Media Group in the UK and plenty more.

That same network now reaches 100 million consumers globally. There are plenty of similar networks in place to sell advertising on the Internet, but the Nokia Media Network is one of the few available for mobile, and certainly one of the very few of that scale.

If you’d have asked me a few years ago what I would have thought Nokia would be up to in 2008, selling mobile advertising wouldn’t have been on the list. But, in a sniff over six months the Nokia Media Network team have assembled a massive user base and brought together some of the top publishers in the world. How? Plenty of hard work for sure, but with something like this it’s quite likely they were pushing at open doors. Mobile advertising hasn’t yet been cracked significantly by anyone, at least not in a way that works as well for users as it does for advertisers, but it’s not for the lack of trying.

Users are plenty familiar with the concept of consuming ad-funded content and as such offay with the idea of that transferring across to mobiles and the associated benefits (lots of good free stuff!). Advertisers are looking for new, innovative ways to reach out to new audiences and see and understand the benefit of hitting people on their mobiles. Hence something of an open doors opportunity.

What could well have started out for Nokia as being an opportunity to shake up a sector and create something of a market out of it (become a catalyst, if you will), could well turn out to be a pretty significant business. And you know what? It doesn’t involve producing phones. Funny that.