Carriers don't know the ad market

At lunch today, a discussion with folks from a couple carriers about mobile couponing. It’s the idea that I can walk up to a restaurant, read the reviews of that restaurant that others have left floating for me in location-aware cyberspace, and then get a coupon from that restaurant pushed out to me.

Interesting comment from someone senior at a carrier: the carriers don’t know the ad market, they aren’t going to be able to figure it out, and they will need companies who do understand it. True, and in my mind, this spells opportunity for the big portal plays. Especially as the J2ME/BREW subscription world goes the way of the Internet walled garden and data transmission fees become commoditized with competition between carriers and from WiFi-enabled phones. Carriers will want to maintain ARPU and it will be interesting to see if they can grab a cut of the ad market.

On that topic, an interview with Third Screen CEO.

And a survey from In-Stat on consumer acceptance of mobile ads. Wonder what the equivalent stats for web ads were in 1997.

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