Mobile operator, 3UK, has announced a service supported by personalised advertising to provide free content for its customers.

In partnership with content firm Rythm New Media, the service, which launches in April, consolidates 3’s innovative approach to giving customers ‘sticky’ content for free, while being paid to put adverts on its customers’ screens.

Ad-funded content has, according to the operator, “significantly increased the range of video content available to customers.”

The free content includes news, comedy, celebrity gossip, animations and film. These services will continue to sit alongside “existing premium entertainment and information services, such as full-length music tracks and mobile games”, 3 said.

In February, Nick Holland, analyst with research and advisory group Pyramid Research said in his report ‘MObile Advertising, MOre Money: Dissecting Next Generation MNO Advertising Models’ that “When you consider that mobile is the only media platform currently lacking advertising as a revenue stream, it is clearly a very exciting greenfield opportunity for brands to get in front of a very large audience.” He added: “For MNOs it is certainly a way of generating revenues and can be used as a way of augmenting mobile content to encourage uptake.”

3 is attempting to boost its uptake of mobile content with its so-called ‘youth market’ and is playing on the position, asserting that mobile presents “a new opportunity to deliver targeted and personalised advertising to a hard-to-access demographic”. Thus far, it has convinced Microsoft and Unilever, who have been confirmed as clients for the launch of the new service.

3 said: “Brands will be able to buy advertising space based on the demographics of the customer watching it. Before viewing the free content for the first time customers will be asked to submit basic demographic data (age and gender) which can be used by brands to target their advertising more effectively.”

The advertising can be frequency regulated, so a brand can define how many times an individual sees a specific advert, preventing wasted impressions and removing the risk of advertising fatigue.

Ujjal Kohli, CEO of Rhythm NewMedia, said: “This launch offers advertisers an amazing new opportunity – the chance to deliver personalised advertising on mobile at an individual level. As well as selecting your target audience on demographic and content data.”

Rhythm NewMedia is responsible both for the sales of the advertising inventory created by the launch as well as for serving the ads on the service itself.