Huge Group launches Huge Media with agreement to distribute mobile advertising technology

Investment

Huge Group has announced the launch of its latest operating subsidiary, Huge Media, in Johannesburg. Huge Media aims to enter the rapidly emerging digital media arena, positioning itself as a media owner on the leading edge of the digital technology curve.

Huge Media has signed a distribution agreement for South Africa with mobile phone technology provider Eyeballs Mobile Advertising, giving it the rights to distribute the cutting edge “Eyeballs” mobile advertising technology in South Africa. Huge Group’s majority shareholding in Eyeballs Mobile Advertising means the group will also benefit from any international expansion moves by Eyeballs.

Duncan Palmer, Group Marketing Manager for Huge Group, says Huge Media was formed to take the Eyeballs technology to market in South Africa. “Huge Media will become a ‘media owner’ – it will build and own the access to a mobile phone subscriber base, to which it will be able to serve advertising.”

The Eyeballs technology utilizes the “interaction-initiation” time on users’ mobile phones to display customized advertising, content and information to the user. The technology has been developed in South Africa over several years, is in many respects a world first, and enjoys patent protections both in South Africa and internationally. Currently the technology solution runs on Symbian-based smartphones, across all networks, with BlackBerry compatibility next in the development queue and due for release in early 2010.

Huge Media will be the first commercial implementation of the Eyeballs technology worldwide, after a beta trial that was run in South Africa last year. Justin Lavers, Sales and Marketing Manager for Huge Media, comments, “Cellphones are South Africa’s primary and ubiquitous form of communication, with a pervasiveness not seen in any other medium. It makes perfect sense that this will soon be the most valuable real estate in the media world, as well as possibly the most fickle – it takes a lot for a user to invite a supplier onto their personal mobile space. The Eyeballs technology achieves this with a level of elegance diametrically opposed to existing market offerings, and we have already seen an unusually high level of product loyalty in the beta trials.”

Lavers says the technology has unique user appeal and acceptability. “Unlike current methods of mobile advertising, which generally invade your personal space and time even if opt-in, this technology is completely non-intrusive and does not require the user to change mobile phone behaviour. In fact, international research has shown that users are positively disposed during genuine phone communication time. Further, it is measurable right down to the confirmed view status of each advertisement, making our reporting completely accurate and transparent.”

“In addition,” says Lavers, “we believe this advertising proposition will be extremely well received, at the aggressive cpm (cost-per-thousand) rates at which we will be able to deliver, which will compete very favourably with existing, far less sophisticated or transparent digital media offerings. It will be a case of newer-better-cheaper.”