Pitch launches ‘first’ free mobile download service funded by ads

Former senior marketing executives at Virgin Megastores and iTouch are launching an advertiser-funded mobile content service, offering free downloads in return for accepting ads.

Former senior marketing executives at Virgin Megastores and iTouch are launching an advertiser-funded mobile content service, offering free downloads in return for accepting ads.

Pitch is targeting users aged 13 and over. It will offer wallpapers, ringtones and games, and claims to be the first purely ad-funded mobile entertainment company.

It says ads will be carefully targeted to ensure they are appropriate, based on the personal information users give when signing up to the service, including age, sex and interests. In return for the free content, users will be sent up to three ads a week.

The two main figures behind the launch include former Virgin Megastores marketing chief Andy Kendrick and Lourens de Beer, who was previously head of marketing at mobile content firm iTouch.

The new service will work across all the main networks, except 3. It is owned by Pitch Entertainment Group, which also includes ringtone firm Splash Mobile. No advertisers have yet been signed up, but the company says it is in talks with several leading brands to bring them on board. Pitch has also set up a marketing services arm to help brand owners develop their mobile marketing campaigns.

The company claims that over 3 million consumers in the UK regularly pay to download ringtones, graphics and games to their mobile phones. It is planning what it describes as “a high-profile marketing campaign” to recruit users already familiar with downloading content, as well as others who have until now been reluctant to pay for mobile content.

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