• Media
  • Aug 26, 2016

Unlockd bets you'll watch ads to cut phone bills (and it's backed by Murdoch)

Unlockd joins a growing list of companies – including Facebook, Amazon.com and Pandora Media – that are targeting the mobile-advertising market, which is expected to more than double to $US65.5 billion by 2019, according to researcher eMarketer.

The moves come after years of attempts by start-ups and companies like Virgin Mobile to offer ad-subsidized wireless service, many of which were aborted. Proponents say those companies were ahead of their time, and that consumers are now more receptive to viewing ads on their phones.

Unlockd is working with more than 300 advertisers globally, including Starbucks, McDonald’s, Viacom’s MTV, Lyft and News Corp, he said.

“Like any good mobile product, it’s more about timing, and I think the timing is very good,” said Doug Robinson, CEO of Fresh Digital Group. His agency’s clients include Macy’s, Walt Disney’s ESPN and Ford. This year it used Unlockd to run a public-service campaign for the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

“To pinpoint this audience on TV or radio is nearly impossible,” Robinson said. “We know exactly who we are reaching.”

In the US, Unlockd users tend to be younger and Hispanic. In the UK, the program reaches people 25 to 54 years old, Berriman said.