Spoof news media empire The Onion is bringing “America’s Finest News Source” and its brand of comedic fictional news to the mobile phone.
The new WAP site is part of a partnership with mobile service firm Quattro Wireless, which is powering the mobile ad network, as well as acting as the exclusive ad sales provider to the brand.
“They’ve always done a great job at getting their content to audiences through print and online, and when they started thinking seriously about mobile, they wanted to have an ad-supported site,” said Lars Albright, VP of business development at Quattro Wireless.
To promote the new site, The Onion is running ads online, as well as on its print site. In addition, Quattro Wireless is automatically redirecting people who load theonion.com onto their phones to the mobile WAP site at mobile.theonion.com. They also are using search engine optimization.
The Onion‘s mobile site will include content from the Web and print that is formatted specifically for the mobile phone. This content includes The Onion‘s news briefs, photos, horoscopes and Onion Radio News. It also is designed to support audio feeds for The Onion Radio News network so that consumers can directly download audio files to their phones.
The mobile site is aimed at The Onion‘s demographic, which ranges in age from about 18 to 45, and skews slightly male.
“The Onion‘s demographic is a great mobile demographic. They are very tech savvy, well-educated and hip,” Albright said. “We’re excited about this opportunity because these are the type of people who are on the mobile Web.”
The Onion‘s mobile Web site will serve one to two ads per page.
“Advertisers tend to see higher click-through rates on the mobile Web in comparison to online, not only because of targeting capabilities, but also because there is less clutter as you only have one or two ads on the page so they get noticed more,” Albright said.
This partnership comes after Quattro recently signed on to run the mobile ad sales for Gawker Media properties. Other publishers within the network include Fandango, Hachette Filipacchi Media US, MocoSpace, TV Guide, Univision and FOX Interactive Media.
According to the Nielsen Company, mobile Internet usage is steadily on the rise, with more than 100 million unique mobile subscribers and $1.8 billion in revenues for the second quarter of 2008. In addition, portals, e-mail, weather, news/politics and search were the top-five-visited categories by mobile users.
“We have found in our top 10 mobile sites, people actually spend a similar amount of time on it as online,” Albright said.