MSNBC.com Launches Ad-Supported Mobile Video Service

MSNBC.com has launched a downloadable, ad-supported mobile news application in conjunction with Action Engine, the companies are expected to announce today.

The multimedia app, called MSNBC.com Mobile, is said to be among the first free, ad-supported news offerings designed specifically for handheld devices. Currently in beta, it consists of news articles, videos and slideshows from a variety of sources. The service will be promoted directly to visitors to MSNBC and across the MSN network.

MSNBC.com will sell the ad inventory, which consists of :15 video pre-roll spots and banner-like display ads. Windows Mobile has signed on as exclusive sponsor of the service during a three-month beta, after which it will be made available to all advertisers.

The existing ad products are all works in progress and may be changed, according to Dan Mucha, MSNBC.com’s manager of business strategy and development.

“We don’t pretend to have the answer to what’s the killer way to advertise on mobile,” he said. “Right now we’re going with these banners and pre-roll to see how it works. We’re going to get feedback. It’s very possible we’re going to go with a different set of ad products.”

Action Engine provided the technology platform for MSNBC.com Mobile. That platform requires consumers to have a data plan via their wireless carrier and is limited to Windows Mobile and Java devices. Action Engine said it will eventually work with BREW-enabled handsets.

The companies did not disclose terms, but executives suggested it was a revenue share rather than a licensing model.

Separately, Action Engine said it had been selected by TiVo to enable its recently announced TiVoToGo mobile video service.

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