Orange moves into third-party mobile ad deals with publishers

Orange is to launch a mobile ad service for third-party publishers as part of a major commercial push.

The operator is looking to extend its relationship with select partners to offer ad sales as part of a broader suite of mobile services.

Orange denied it aimed to roll out a mobile ad network but admitted it would sell advertising for third-party sites, among a range of services.

As part of the move it has replaced its existing Microsoft Screentonic ad serving platform with Orange Group’s supplier, Ad Infuse. The new platform serves a range of ad formats including pre-roll, display and in-game.

Steve Ricketts, head of third-party services for Orange, said there was a responsibility for the operator to use its assets to grow mobile advertising. “We’re looking to work closely with partners to offer them ad opportunities,” he said. “Many people want to do business with us but it’s not just about driving traffic. We can offer free data, location-based information, billing and ad services.”

In February 2008, Orange scaled back its online ad network after it failed to attract publishers (nma 14 February 2008).

Media company Sky, which also uses Ad Infuse’s ad server, is close to signing its first third-party publisher deal as it looks to replicate the success of its online network business.

Tim Hussain, head of mobile advertising for BSkyB, said he was keen to sell ads around quality inventory. “In the same way as we have a wider established network in the online space, I will look for suitable opportunities on mobile.”

The moves come a week after Nokia was forced to shed up to 30 sales jobs to focus on its existing inventory (nma 19 February).

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