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Vodafone Spain picks Amobee for on-deck ad serving

Vodafone Spain now uses Amobee Media Systems' advertising service to serve advertisements into the carrier's Vodafone Live portal, a move to battle the threat from online giants Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc.

Vodafone made a minority investment in the company, joining Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners and Globespan in funding Amobee through its next stage of development. Amobee's media service will be used as a key element in Vodafone Spain's "Mobile Marketing Discover Program." Brands such as Heineken, Nestlé, and Linea Directa will be participating in this new mobile advertising effort.

"I think this isn't only a battle against Google and Yahoo, it's an overall recognition that mobile advertising is potentially a very lucrative market and companies other than the Internet giants want a seat at the table and get their fair share," said Neil Strother, mobile analyst at JupiterResearch.

"Not only have the online big boys delved into mobile, you have Nokia who bought into this space too," he said. "Traditional wireless companies see opportunity in advertising and want to have some control in that space and not just give it all to the online players.

"This area is really heating up and this is a sign that all should recognize that advertising on mobile phones is very nascent."

Mobile advertising is a great way to reach consumers. In fact by 2010 one billion new mobile phone subscribers will join the current base of 2.8 billion, according to Pyramid Research. In addition, worldwide mobile advertising will grow to $11.35 billion in 2011, according to Informa

Amobee is providing the centralized ad-server and campaign management tool that integrates relevant and contextual commercial messages into all types of mobile content.

Later developments will include ad-funded mobile gaming, TV, video and messaging.

"Amobee is trying to solve the questions of where the carrier plays in the advertising business model for mobile," said Roger Wood, the senior vice president and general manager for the Americas region of Amobee, Redwood City, CA.

"Our advertising service is specifically designed for carriers to stake their claim in ad inventory," he said. "Because of the multifaceted nature of mobile phones, the carrier will be the dominant purveyor of advertising inventory as the consumer navigates all over the phone by texting, watching videos and playing games.

"The carrier will be in a prime position to serve ads throughout those areas. We believe a phone fulfils more functions than just [the] Internet and searches, therefore the carrier should serve ads that go beyond just search and the Net."