Ad-Funded Content: Big Revenues...but for Whom?

The interest in Advertising-Funded Content is hotting up and Informa have recently published their prediction that the market will grow to a whopping $11.3bn (£6bn) in 5 years time.

Nice money... if you can get it. And getting a slice of the action seems to be on the radar screen for many operators. The mobile players in Europe, in particular, are recruiting advertising talent heavily, as they see this as a contributor to filling the revenue and margin hole created by market saturation and increased competition from MVNOs as well as new compeititors and technologies.

But Google, the masters of web advertising are not going to leave this market alone. They recently announced trials of their Mobile Adwords capability in US, UK and Germany. This enables websites to deliver adverts that are configured for mobile devices together with click-to-call functionality.

If Google and the other internet giants win the 'battle' (if one really develops), then operators may benefit from increased data transport (more people viewing cheaper content) and some additional voice traffic from click-to-call.

The trouble is, with prices in free fall in these areas, it remains questionable whether this will add anything to the top and bottom line. And what are they going to do with their advertising talent - look to drive more on-portal traffic with an advertising-funded content capability of their own?