Wireless Device Will Serve Local News

Scout Electromedia will launch a wireless device labeled MODO in September to provide urban consumers with information about area bars, restaurants, clubs, movies, museums, artistic performances, recreational activities and shopping.

MODO initially will be available in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco with plans to eventually be available in 30 cities worldwide.

Scout employs an editorial staff in the three launch cities to update local entertainment information and write area reviews on a daily basis. The editorial staff also will produce top-10 lists and news.

“MODO will be marketed to 18- to 34-year-old urbanites, but our sweet spot is 22- to 28-year-olds. We want to target young people who are doing things in the city,” said Geoff Pitfield, founder and CEO of Scout Electromedia Inc., San Francisco.

The device will be sold for $95 with no subscription fee. The company expects to sell 100,000 devices by year-end and 1 million devices in the first year.

“We realize that there are other mobile devices out there that contain entertainment content, but the demographic we are going after doesn't own Palms or [wireless application protocol] phones,” he said. “Those advanced [personal digital assistants] are not prevalent in the mainstream, but are instead used by a specific niche of 40-year-old tech-savvy professionals, such as investment bankers and dot-com entrepreneurs. Were going after the waitresses, Gap managers and public relations employees out there.”

Scout will use Motorola's Flex Wireless paging protocol to send updated information to users. The information is targeted by city location and can even be altered if a user visits one of the other cities in the MODO network. Users also can request information for a specific neighborhood, Pitfield added.

Advertisers will serve text- or graphics-based ads. Users clicking on these ads will be served a full-page ad containing branding information, discount offers or bar-code-identifiable coupons. Ad space will be offered on a basis similar to cost-per-thousand impressions, Pitfield said, although specific pricing is still being discussed.

Advertisers will be able to target ads based on the user’s location or the content being viewed. Scout Electromedia has signed a deal with New Line Cinema, Los Angeles, to serve ads promoting new movie releases, Pitfield said.

The company is working with Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, OR, to develop outdoor, guerrilla and online advertising campaigns for MODO.

Scout has received approximately $25 million in funding from Idealab, Pasadena, CA; Chase Capital Partners, New York; Flatiron Partners, New York; and TechFund Capital, MountainView, CA.

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