How do Mobile Service Providers Partner with Media Companies?

The standard model for working with a traditional media partner is to license their syndicated content:

  • The channel owner or platform provider takes stock of the number of visitors/eyeballs/audience that their Digital Property A is getting and figures that by featuring the content of Publisher X they will be able to sell a certain amount of space (aka “inventory” to Advertiser Y.)

  • They are thus able to figure out an economically viable sum to pay Publisher X to license the content, and if said sum meets with the approval of Publisher X, a beautiful relationship is born. Then so long as both sides do whatever is necessary to raise awareness of the content featuring on Digital Property A, then the owner sees a spike in traffic, Advertiser Y gets his/her message across and everyone does business happily ever after.

  • With mobile, the traffic to WAP sites is only just reaching critical mass, so it is necessary to enter into more speculative arrangements.

Mobile Phone as Print’s Savior…

While soaring population growth has shielded the Hispanic market from the calamitous sales plunges that have rocked the general market advertising, the industry is starting to see some contraction, as ad-dollars dry up from historically reliable sectors like automotive. This summer, Atlanta’s Universal Grafico had to suspend publication, and Los Angeles Tu Ciudad folded outright (to read more about these news items, please check out

As some predict the general market’s woes coming to the Hispanic print space, others see a world of opportunity presented by the burgeoning mobile market. After all, newspapers specialize in local content, which is most relevant to the mobile platform. People want to know what is going on where they are at any given moment: When the movie times are, what roads are closed, etc.  

However, the platform can also accommodate content that has a more national appeal. In June, Spanish-language newspaper publisher Impremedia has just announced a mobile distribution strategy that will likely be adopted by many other Spanish-language newspapers nationwide, as they strive to keep pace with an increasingly Internet-prone audience and become more relevant in the digital age.

Impremedia has partnered with mobile services company 4INFO to handle distribution of the free alerts, which will be available, initially, in three distinct categories: Entertainment, Sports, and Politics. The mobile alerts allow us to target end users by their preference. Right now we have 3 subjects, but more will come.  That way the advertising is a self-select process,” Arturo Duran, CEO of ImpreMedia Digital LLC, tells Portada “We are in conversations with several advertisers that I can't disclose at this time. But there is huge interest in this.” 

The purpose of offering the alerts in these three areas is to concurrently serve the needs of readers seeking specific content, and advertisers seeking specific targets. 4INFO specializes in delivering highly targeted advertising through its SMS ad network.

To sign up to receive these free alerts readers can use their mobile phones to send a text message with the keyword DEPORTES, VOTO or ENTRE; or by entering their mobile number into an online form at Subscribers will receive from one to three daily alerts with the latest headlines per topic, in Spanish. The mobile alerts will be offered by all of ImpreMedia's publications.

Another company, Primiro, is bridging the gap between print and mobile by making offline content available via mobile handsets. The company’s business model centers no creating partnerships with leading print publishers. The publishers digitize their content and make it available to Primiro. In the print issue, readers see a logo with instructions for accessing the content via their handsets and, if they wish, sharing the content with a friend. The user may also access the content from their home computer through their email, and the company allows each user to maintain a library of previously accessed content. This service is free of charge for the user.

Payment models

For the publisher, there are two payment models. The first involves a one-time set-up fee of $2,000 to designate the codes, etc. After that, the publisher pays Service Provider a small percentage on each text message sent. The second model takes a flat-rate approach, offering the first few months of service free of charge, and after that a steady rate of between $4,000-$10,000, depending on the size of the client. “Of course the crucial question for publishers is: ‘How do I make money from this,’” says Primiro’s COO Pablo Traverso. “The publishers profits are advertising-based. Each piece that is sent via Primiro is accompanied by relevant advertising, in much the same way that Google ads work.” Traverso says that the company is in talks with Adobe to actually embed the advertisements into the texts of the content to enhance exposure. “Under this model, the publisher needn’t sell any advertising whatsoever. What happens is that the Adobe Ads program scans the content for keywords and then searches the Yahoo! database for relevant ads and then places the ads into the PDF, automatically garnering ad revenue for the publisher.” Traverso says that Yahoo! And Adobe would split 30%-50% of the resulting revenue, with the rest going to the publisher.

And while it has been standard operating procedure to consider text service users as having opted-in to receive third party advertising, Traverso says that the company has moved away from this paradigm and will instead offer users the explicit choice to receive such advertising, saying that this latter approach instills confidence in Primiro by empowering the user, whereas the former only serves to undermine confidence in the service.

Primiro’s current clients include: Self Magazine, Pace Communications (Airline magazines) and Bonier publishing. Traverso says that the company plans to expand its reach into the U.S. Hispanic, Latin Americas and Spanish markets. Here in the U.S., the company has closed a deal with the McCain Campaign to facilitate offline/online content sharing from TV and Print communications. The program will run through the November elections. 

How it Works

Looks for Service Provider logo in Newspaper/Magazine, on billboard, TV, Brochure.
Request info with a text message to Primiro.
Save and share info from personal library, via email or mobile.

Publishers sign up for the service with Service Provider.
2) Publisher arranges to print Service Provider logo and specific short codes for each story.
3) Service Provider’s system then handles the electronic dissemination and storage of offline content.


Publishers sell to advertisers, and advertisers pay a certain rate for each time their ad is displayed, or on a CPA basis. This arrangement is negotiated independent of the service provider and is completely up to the publisher and advertiser.