Savos Aims to Stream Audio Ads to Cell Phones

A New York-based firm is betting that users will want to receive both streaming audio and advertising on their cell phones.

Technology developed by a company called Savos allows providers of streaming news, weather, sports and music to stream to cell phones. Users dial a local number and select their content channels. Content providers signed up to deliver news and information through the service include the BBC, the Wall Street Reporter, and internet.com, the parent publication of Internet Advertising Report.

Now, Savos says it MediaCrossBar technology can imbed content-targeted ads into those audio streams. The product will enable advertisers to repurpose their existing radio spots, and content publishers to create an additional revenue stream.

It’s betting that advertisers and radio stations will want to target wireless users — who right now consist primarily of business or “early adopter” users. Those types of consumers, says Savos, are in the position to want information quickly and while traveling.

It’s also gambling that those listeners will want to use the features of their phone to get more information on the advertiser. Listeners can respond to a spot by pressing a button on their phones that will open a call to the company, or show a message about how to get more information.

The company envisions that wireless carriers also will want to get in on the action by offering streaming audio in addition to value-adds like WAP and SMS services. Eventually, the company said it plans to integrate transactional capabilities into the spots.

While short news segments and stock updates might appeal to the person-on-the-go, it’s harder to imagine consumers listening to music on their cell phones: as with any cell phone service, the sound quality can’t be relied on to be perfect, and, most importantly, most users pay airtime usage fees.

Savos, which has several streaming music providers lined up, at least has the first problem licked — its MediaCrossBar will support 2.5G and 3G wireless standards as they come out, ultimately allowing for CD-quality audio over cell phones.

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