Quattro Wireless, which is building a mobile ad network while also helping publishers, like Playboy (NYSE: PLA), Univision and the NHL create mobile sites, is expanding from North America into Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Asia and India. Last week, I got a chance to catch up with Andy Miller, Quattro’s CEO, to get the scoop on its international goals, while also learning where the promising areas of mobile advertising are going forward. Much of what he said reminded me of a conversation I had last month with Alexandre Mars, the CEO of PhoneValley, which is the mobile arm of the Publicis Groupe. So, while mobile advertising is still unproven, and there’s plenty to complain about, ranging from the amount of unsold inventory to lower-than-expected prices, here’s a look at some of the positive trends in 2009:
– On Quattro’s expansion: Miller said since a lot of its U.S. publishers have opportunities abroad, it made sense to expand. To date, if their mobile sites were visited by users, they wouldn’t have had any advertising. Some of the publishers include: Goal.com, hi5 and MySpace internationally. Quattro’s international network has only been live for a few weeks, but it’s already 10 percent of the company’s business. They’ve hired one person in Europe so far, and they’ll likely hire a second soon. The expansion didn’t require raising new funds, but Miller said they could have more funding news soon. PhoneValley, which works more closely with brands, also operates internationally with a presence in 10 countries, including the U.S., India, China, Western Europe and Russia.
More after the jump…
– The chicken and the egg: One of the big limitations in mobile advertising is that big brands and publishers need mobile sites in order to justify advertising on mobile phones. Otherwise, if they buy and ad, where are they trying to drive traffic to? Both Miller and Mars said that in 2009, more publishers and brands will be willing to make the investment in a mobile site, which will increase mobile advertising budgets. Miller said they are known for building sites for publishers and media companies, but they’ve also done a lot of work with Proctor and Gamble, Ford and Sony (NYSE: SNE). “We are going to be doing the same thing internationally.” Mars: “I’m always asked the same question, when will mobile advertising take off? We are betting it will be this year, and I think maybe the big one will be next year, but for the first time, you