SugarMama: Watch Ads, Earn Minutes

According to this article in the NY Times (reg. req'd), Virgin Mobile USA is going to try a novel program where the company lets users earn free talk time for watching ads:

The program, called SugarMama, lets people earn one minute of talking time by watching 30-second commercials on a computer or receiving text messages on their phones, then answering questions to prove they were, in fact, paying attention.

Virgin Mobile, a relatively small cellphone carrier with four million mostly young customers, is aiming the program at teenagers, who can earn up to 75 minutes of free talk time a month.

The article makes the somewhat obvious point that these young consumers who might be willing to do this won't necessarily be have the discretionary spending capacity that marketers are looking for. Still it's an interesting experiment and one worth watching.

Previously, a RBC Capital Markets survey of 1,000 US mobile phone users found solid majorities don’t want music or video on their phones and more than 40 percent said they would even pay for phones that prevented advertising/marketing.

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Here's more from Reuters. And here's Tom Taulli on Microsoft's potential acquisition of mobile ad firm Third Screen Media

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