Group M, the parent company of WPP media agencies (MediaCom, Mediaedge:cia and MindShare), and UK-based Celltick, a provider of mobile “Idle Screen” ad serving and inventory management technology, jointly announced a “regional cooperation agreement” today whereby the two will “develop a joint mobile advertising proposition… for the Asia Pacific region.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Celltick will “actively promote… Group M as media partner for managed service contracts; GroupM is now the preferred media partner for advertising inventory on operator platforms served by Celltick’s LiveScreen(TM) Media. In return, GroupM will present Celltick’s LiveScreen(TM) Media as its preferred idle screen advertising solution for mobile operators and promote it as an advertising channel to media agencies in the region.”
Celltick claims its LiveScreen technology currently reaches the idle screens of over 200 million mobile users on over 20 operators worldwide, including Hutch, Orange and China Unicom.
Analysis: Putting aside the inherent conflict of interest Group M will face in “favoring” a partner’s media on the basis of a partnership arrangement, the real value of Idle Screen mobile advertising inventory has yet to be demonstrated in any unbiased and/or publicly available data and/or case studies. While there is little doubt that the inactive screen “push” model will be successful as a pure branding play, in remains to be seen if users will act (i.e. click) on idle screen mobile ads in large and/or reliable numbers. Judging by the context by which most mobile phones are used (i.e. to make a call, or engage in mission-based activity such as text messaging or even mobile search), we would suspect not.
Of course, Celltick could help us become believers in their approach by publishing some (independently verified) click thru data…