Summary:

Aegis Media, the media buying and marketing division of Aegis Group, is beefing up its mobile assets and activity: it is taking an undisclos…

Economist iPad edition

Aegis Media, the media buying and marketing division of Aegis Group, is beefing up its mobile assets and activity: it is taking an undisclosed minority stake, worth $11 million, in TigerSpike, a developer of apps for blue-chip publishers like News Corp (NSDQ: NWS). The Economist, Telegraph Media Group and Mail Online, as well as mobile media services for big-name brands.

TigerSpike, which is based in Sydney but has offices in London and New York, says that the investment will be used to extend its geographical reach, particularly into Asia.

The investment plays on the part of TigerSpike’s business that may offer the biggest potential in terms of market growth: its marketing services. The clients that already use the company’s “Phoenix” platform to develop apps and other mobile marketing products include the drinks giants Diageo and Pepsi, as well as the retailer Woolworths (still big in Australia) and AutoTrader.

It gives Aegis a natural partner to now offer app development services and other mobile marketing to its clients as part of their digital media strategies.

Although TigerSpike works across a range of mobile devices and platforms, its publishing customers have been focussed most of all on the tablet form factor. In May, EMEA MD Nic Newman told paidContent that the average time that a user spent engaged in a publishing app was between 30 and 34 minutes — five times higher than the average time spent engaged on the publishers’ respective websites.

You can see how rapidly mobile marketing services have evolved over the last several years by how much the sums have changed. Today’s is for $11 million, and while TigerSpike has not been particularly public on the value of too many of its publishing deals of late, it was only in 2007 that it signed a $207,000 deal with DMGT to develop mobile service for the company’s UK freesheet Metro.

That’s perhaps also a signal for where the real money might lie: not in publishing on its own but in advertising.

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