Outdoor Life Network Tries Mobile Messaging

Taking advantage of U.S. interest in the Tour de France bike race, cable channel Outdoor Life Network TV has tapped irisme Mobile Media (iMM) to provide daily updates to subscribers’ wireless devices.

Viewers of the cable channel can go to OLN’s Web site and sign up to receive opt-in messages and daily race updates via their cell phones, PDAs or pagers, in the network’s first foray into mobile marketing.

Although short message service (SMS) marketing has taken off in Europe, where it has been used by players like McDonald’s, Heineken, and Dunkin Donuts, the medium is only just getting off the ground in the United States. However, with the increase in consumer usage of SMS — fueled by carriers’ unveiling of interoperability and the proliferation of two-way messaging capable phones — the medium may begin to take off with advertisers here.

“With its worldwide appeal, the Tour de France is the perfect event to start with,” said E. Roger Williams, president and CEO of the Outdoor Life Network.

Iris Wireless, the parent company of the iMM unit which is delivering the text messages, specializes in offering a carrier class telecommunications platform with global text and data messaging capability. Its iMM unit is geared toward enabling advertisers to deliver mobile marketing messages to consumers who opt-in.

The Greenwich, Conn.-based Iris said it is also working on next generation technology for multi-media services when 3G handsets become available. The irisme SMS service is interoperable with all text messaging platforms and devices.

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