Savos Aims to Stream Audio Ads to Cell Phones

A New York-based firm is betting that users will want to receive both
streaming audio and advertising on their cell phones.

Technology developed by a company called Savos allows providers of
streaming news, weather, sports and music to stream to cell phones. Users
dial a local number and select their content channels. Content providers
signed up to deliver news and information through the service include the
BBC, the Wall Street Reporter, and internet.com, the parent publication of
Internet Advertising Report.

Now, Savos says it MediaCrossBar technology can imbed content-targeted
ads into those audio streams. The product will enable advertisers to
repurpose their existing radio spots, and content publishers to create an
additional revenue stream.

It’s betting that advertisers and radio stations will want to target
wireless users — who right now consist primarily of business or “early
adopter” users. Those types of consumers, says Savos, are in the position
to want information quickly and while traveling.

It’s also gambling that those listeners will want to use the features of
their phone to get more information on the advertiser. Listeners can
respond to a spot by pressing a button on their phones that will open a call
to the company, or show a message about how to get more information.

The company envisions that wireless carriers also will want to get in on
the action by offering streaming audio in addition to value-adds like WAP
and SMS services. Eventually, the company said it plans to integrate
transactional capabilities into the spots.

While short news segments and stock updates might appeal to the
person-on-the-go, it’s harder to imagine consumers listening to
music on their cell phones: as with any cell phone service, the sound
quality can’t be relied on to be perfect, and, most importantly, most users
pay airtime usage fees.

Savos, which has several streaming music providers lined up, at least has
the first problem licked — its MediaCrossBar will support 2.5G and 3G
wireless standards as they come out, ultimately allowing for CD-quality
audio over cell phones.

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