Ad Supported Mobile Music in the Cards?

Mobile music costs too much. That’s what a study from Strategy Analytics has found. According to E-Commerce News “Consumers are saying that mobile music services are exceptionally overpriced — at least 85 percent higher than they actually feel comfortable paying.” The research firm studied music download services from Verizon, Sprint and others.

Most of the mobile music and video content services out there today are subscription-based. But I think we’ll start to see more ad support for this stuff in the future. It’s just a matter of getting the advertisers on board. Of course, all these services need to bolster their subscriber bases as well, or else the advertisers won’t get enough reach. As usual, the chicken-and-egg phenomenon is present here.

A just-announced partnership between Virgin Mobile USA, Ultramercial and mobile marketing firm, Vibes, by which users watch ads in exchange for mobile minutes, could be a harbinger of things to come. Ultramercial and Virgin discovered through a focus group that the teens using Virgin’s service didn’t like the idea of viewing mobile rich media ads. Virgin’s solution was the ads-for-minutes program. Mobile text ads and in-depth user survey partcipation are also components.

As 3G phones become more pervasive here in the states, richer ad opportunities may look more viable for mobile, but in the meantime, these services have to walk the tightrope between building their audiences and bearing the costs without a lot of mobile ad dollars.

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