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ESPN continues ramping up its mobile platform: IAB MIXX

NEW YORK ? At the IAB MIXX conference to kick of Advertising Week, ESPN said that its mobile traffic surpasses its PC traffic at times and in response it is continuing to expand its mobile initiatives.

ESPN said that its mission is to serve sports fans wherever sports are watched, listened to, discussed, debated, read about or played, and for 2010 it plans to add tweeted, texted, blogged, chatted, shared, updated or alerted. Also during the IAB workshop, ESPN announced that it has launched its newest application for iPhone and iPod touch, ESPN Radio, and that it is running a text-to-win promotion with AT&T.

?I think we are evolving into a mobile applications world, which offers much more personalization, and we?re moving towards more paid content in mobile,? said John Kosner, senior vice president and general manager of digital media at ESPN, Bristol, CT. ?We take it for granted that content is free on Web sites, but I think you?ll see something different evolve on mobile.

?We?re committed to multiple revenue streams, and Apple?s iTunes billing and carrier billing makes it easier to do paid mobile content,? he said. ?Advertisers want scale, and we?re able to provide that by delivering want fans want.

?It?s all about value?fans will pay for content that they value and they can?t find other places, and we?ve also been able to reach scale and have enough of an audience mobile so it interests advertisers.?

The ESPN Radio application adds another platform to access audio from

The site reaches more than 420,000 unique listeners per month, according to Ando Media, which measures nearly 7,000 global streams of audio worldwide.

Additionally, is the largest, most listened to talk format stream, both terrestrially and via Internet-only streaming. It generates 1.9 million total sessions per month?an increase of 25 percent compared to last year?and the average session in audio stream lasts 2.5 hours.

The ESPN Radio application is the latest from ESPN, following the recent release of ESPN Fantasy Football, ESPN ScoreCenter, ESPN Fantasy Football Draft Kit and the photo-matching game ESPN Freeze Frame.

ESPN ScoreCenter launched in June to more than 75 countries, supporting six languages, and has been downloaded more than 2.2 million times.

The ESPN Fantasy Football Draft Kit was launched Aug. 1 and in four weeks has been downloaded more than 350,000 times.

ESPN Zoom originally launched as ESPN Cameraman in Oct. 2008. Through several versions, it has been downloaded nearly 2 million times.

?There is a role for advertisers within the paid model that is not identical to what exists in the free world,? Mr. Kosner said. ?There can be a different relationship between consumers and advertisers in a paid world.

?Thousands of people pay for ESPN the Magazine every month and, guess what, they get advertising with it,? he said. ?We ask ourselves what kind of benefits and value an advertiser can offer consumers in a unique way on mobile, and we?re working in those business models.

?Our online and mobile platforms are cross-promoted on our TV networks, so it?s a great environment for advertisers.?

ESPN expands iPhone portfolio
The ESPN Radio iPhone application gives ESPN Radio listeners access to live radio streams of shows, the latest SportsCenter updates every 20 minutes, podcasts, play-by-play broadcasts, live scores and newsfeeds, as well as text messaging and call-in capabilities directly to ESPN Radio and ESPN affiliate stations.

The application is available via iTunes for $2.99.

The iPhone application includes access to live audio from shows like Mike & Mike in the Morning, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, The Scott Van Pelt Show, The Michael Kay Show and The Michael Irvin Show.

The application features live radio streams from more than 15 ESPN Radio stations, including ESPN 1050 New York, ESPN 1250 Pittsburgh, ESPN 1000 Chicago, ESPN 103.3 Dallas and ESPN 710 Los Angeles.

More than 35 ESPN Radio podcasts are available via the application, including The BS Report with Bill Simmons, Pardon The Interruption, Around The Horn and Fantasy Focus.

Users can also listen in on ESPN Radio play-by-play for college football games in real-time.

The latest news from SportsCenter is updated every 20 minutes.

The application also lets users access NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA and college sports scores and team news.

Users can send a text message directly to the studio of an ESPN Radio show.

ESPN Mobile, AT&T let sports fans text-to-win
ESPN Mobile and AT&T are running an SMS promotion giving a sports fan the opportunity to have a dream game room.

Between Sept. 21 and Nov. 28, fans can text the keyword FAN to the short code 345345 for the chance to win a game room designed by ESPN.

The room will include everything a college football fan would need to watch games in style, including a 46-inch HD TV, surround sound, recliners, a popcorn machine, a grill and an ESPN game table and Ultimate Remote.

In addition to the grand prize, 20 winners will receive new Samsung Solstice mobile phones.

All season on ESPN Mobile, college football fans can watch highlights, news, analysis, features and segments from College Football Live and ESPN's College GameDay.

ESPN has a mobile Web experience that is customized for 30 different handsets, including BlackBerry and iPhone.

On the mobile Web, ESPN has 9 million unique visitors every month.

?Live is about wherever you want it, including mobile, where we?re starting to see weekend trends when mobile traffic is surpassing Web traffic,? said Lisa Valentino, vice president of digital and mobile advertising sales at ESPN, Bristol, CT.

During the recent NCAA football game pitting the Ohio St. Buckeyes versus the USC Trojans, 10.3 million fans watched the game on ESPN, while the college football portal on ESPN?s mobile site got 21.2 million page views.

That was an increase of 145 percent from a year ago.

?Especially on weekends and evenings, mobile is a must-have for fans,? Ms. Valentino said. ?Whether through iPhone apps, the mobile Web or video, ESPN has to have a presence on mobile.

?It?s a younger, more diverse audience on mobile,? she said. ?It?s the most powerful and personal device because it?s always on and always on you.?