M+E Daily

Verizon Gives Mobile Content Providers Paid Data Option (MESA)

Verizon Jan. 19 debuted a new sponsored data service for brands and content providers, giving them the option to foot the bill for the mobile data it would cost for consumers to download apps or stream content. The offering — dubbed FreeBee Data — allows content providers and brands to use either pay-per-click or pay-per-GB models to sponsor the mobile video, audio streaming and app downloads, without the media counting against a consumer’s data plan…

“With one in three Americans now watching videos on their smartphone, and another 100 million on tablets, the business case for mobile is clear,” said Colson Hillier, VP of consumer products at Verizon, said in a statement. “In today’s digital economy, FreeBee Data is a departure from the one size fits all approach to marketing.

“The opportunity to add value and utility to consumers’ everyday experiences will fundamentally transform how brands and businesses connect with their customers.”

With the pay-per-GB model (FreeBee Data 360), which is available as a beta service today, businesses can sponsor some or all of their apps or Web site offerings, without using consumers’ data plans. The pay-per-click service (FreeBee Data) will show a small “bee” icon next to sponsored content, letting Verizon Wireless subscribers know they won’t incur data charges when they click through.

AOL, ESPN’s GameDay and Hearst Magazines are trying out the latter option, sponsoring mobile content for approximately 1,000 subscribers beginning Jan. 25.

“By building capabilities to help brands promote their content and applications, our new FreeBee Data service is a powerful tool designed to help marketers take an active part in consumers’ mobile lives,” Hillier said. “There’s never too much of a good thing when it comes to engaging customers with great content. We look forward to providing our Verizon Wireless subscribers with more options to access amazing content without data charges, just by being one of our valued customers.”