UK mobile provider 3 made a deal with Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Rhythm New Media to launch a free music video service to customers of 3 in the UK. The service is offered to customers with no data charges and is funded solely through advertising.
Ads run before and after videos on the service. While Sony BMG provides the music, Rhythm New Media is in charge of selling and serving the ads. The music video service was officially launched on the 31st of March. According to 3, the response to their free-to-access mobile video scheme has been excellent, with about 1 million users (25% of their clientele) signing up for the service by October 2007.
Signing up for free ad-funded music videos on 3 is quite simple. When a subscriber wants to start using this facility, he/she needs to simply visit the 3 music page, select the ‘opt-in’ option on the mobile screen, enter their age and gender.
Users can browse to select videos. A short pre-roll ad gets displayed before the video plays, followed by the music video the users selected and after that a post-roll ad gets played. In order to encourage customers to use this service without fear of exorbitant data charges being levied on them the word ‘FREE’ is prominently displayed next to each link.
Ads are shown to suit the demographic profile of the user according to the gender and age group they specified when opting into the service. Hence different users may see different ads before and after the same video. In order to check the efficacy of the system, a special link is provided on the main page for viewers who may be interested in participating in a survey that asks users of the service what brands they think they have recently seen being advertised on their mobile, what ads they have seen and the main message of an ad that they were shown.
Responses to the service have been very encouraging, with viewers viewing 3 videos per day on an average. 25% of them had spontaneous ad recall and 75% reported total message recall. 95% of users are happy with this service. Some top brands like Microsoft, Unilever Lynx, Nivea and Paramount pictures have already advertised through this format.