USA Today Offers Text-Message News and Advertising

By: E&P Staff USA Today is offering text messaging that provides real-time news and information to users' mobile phones through a partnership with 4Info, Inc., Palo Alto, Calif.

Users sign up to receive free text alerts on subjects most important to them -- news, sports scores, stock quotes and weather forecasts, entertainment, and other topics -- by sending a text message to the short code 44636, along with a key word for the subject desired.

When readers receive a text alert with their information, messages are often accompanied by a small ad offering related benefits or offers. Consumers can then reply via text message to the ad for more information. Advertisers also may use this mobile platform to deliver coupons and contest entries, collect e-mail addresses, conduct polls and provide directions to their nearest location.

Chevrolet rolled out a mobile advertising initiative with USA Today and 4Info's text-messaging platform in 2006. During the 2007 March Madness tournament, more than 750,000 text messages were sent to USA Today readers, many looking for updates on the NCAA basketball tournament. Consumers were able to reply to the ads to find the Chevrolet dealer closest to them.

4Info's consumer suite of mobile services provides real-time access to sports scores, stock quotes, 411, weather updates, horoscopes, and a host of other information and entertainment services. 4Info investment partners include U.S. Venture Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and USA Today publisher Gannett Company Inc.


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