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Publishers Clearing House develops mobile strategy for younger consumers

Publishers Clearing House Online Network is moving into the mobile space through various initiatives to reach a new, younger demographic.

The company has launched a new mobile site for the iPhone and iPod touch to complement its two downloadable applications, providing an additional consumer channel for entry into the PCH Sweepstakes. PCH will monetize the site through a technology partnership with Nexage, a provider of mobile advertising optimization technology.

"Ultimately our strategy is for the free, ad-supported mobile site to serve as a distribution point, a vehicle for us to present our message about joining other sweepstakes, including the $5,000 for life, $1,000 per week and $10 million sweepstakes we're known for," said Alex Betancur, vice president and general manager of Publishers Clearing House Online Network, New York.

"We're saying to iPhone users ?We're going to give you an enjoyable experience and an opportunity to win' in an effort to promote other opportunities in our network of sites, not just get revenue from game," he said. "This is a multichannel play."

PCH promotes its products by providing site visitors with a chance to win sweepstakes prizes.

With more than 3.5 million new registrants per year, 5 million-plus unique visitors per month and a database of more than 10 million customers, the PCH Online Network is positioned as a platform with reach for advertisers.

The PCH mobile site will use Nexage's AdMax Gateway to optimize ad placement and targeting.
AdMax Gateway serves text, banner, in-application and video ads.

Nexage claims that AdMax currently powers tens of millions of mobile ads per month for tier-one publishers, broadcasters and carriers.

The PCH mobile site can be accessed by typing into a mobile browser.

In the coming weeks, the company will launch versions for other mobile browsers.

The PCH mobile destination gives mobile site visitors the tools they need to enter the PCH sweepstakes once a day while also acting as a cross-promotional vehicle for the other sites in the network.

The site provides a simple registration path, with limited display ads and a link to the mobile search site.

Magazines, merchandise and advertising partner programs will be added in future versions of the site.

In addition to the mobile site, PCH has two iPhone apps that have just been approved by Apple in the past week created and developed a mobile trivia application called PCH Trivia for use on the iPhone.
The PCH Trivia application contains more than 100,000 unique trivia questions in 600 different content areas.

The application is available for free via Apple's mobile App Store and users can customize their games by selecting from 14 different categories such as sports, movies, music, celebrities and society, television and others.

Originally the PCH Trivia app was designed to provide players with an opportunity to earn real cash prizes ranging from $1 to $2,500.

However, Apple did not approve that version, and has rejected any app that offers physical goods or money as prizes.

Each game contains 10 questions and players will receive points for each question answered correctly.

Once the player has accumulated enough points, the player will have the opportunity to spin the "PCH Winning Wheel" to win prizes.

In addition to the trivia game, the PCH Online Network developed a second application for the iPhone in conjunction with Griffin Technology.

This application, called PCH Slots, provides users with another way to win prizes from the iPhone.

"We're getting some good install rates and seeing a lot of actual engagement with these two apps," said Dennis Vukelic, director of online strategy for PCH. "Users are playing on average nearly seven games per session, a total of 70 questions."

That offers advertisers plenty of time to attract players' attention.

Players are also reminded to enter the PCH sweepstakes by visiting PCH mobile and wired Web sites.

"The mobile site is promoted within the apps in addition to other placements, including PCH network banners promoting it, our Twitter feed, our Facebook fan page, and we'll pursue some paid mobile ads as well," Mr. Vukelic said.

"We're working with AdMob, Millennial Media [and] Quattro Wireless," he said "We're displaying their ads in our apps, so we'll probably purchase inventory from them as well. A big part of our business is working with advertisers, so we'll probably start offering them targeted messages.

"Our existing customer from a direct mail perspective is older, so this is a concerted effort to target a younger consumer, and we realize that the older population is starting to move toward the iPhone and smartphone technology as well."