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Wal-Mart Introduces Integrated Mobile and Digital Signage Offering . . . and Gets It Right Print E-mail

MultiMedia Intelligence Brief December 3, 2007- With seemingly little fanfare, Wal-Mart launched its offering in the mobile off-deck content space, Wal-Mart Mobile.

The platform has a web-based content store and WAP portal ( It provides ringtones, games and graphics and has exclusive content from Bruce Springsteen and the Eagles. It meets one's expectations for an off-deck offering. The offering itself does not make it special.

Wal-Mart Mobile is powered by PlayPhone, a mobile content platform company whose other customers include Sega Mobile, ABC Mobile, Bandai Wireless, Lycos Mobile, and Real Arcade Mobile. PlayPhone ranks among the top 10 most visited Web sites in the Entertainment, Mobile Phones category. PlayPhone is a company that knows how enable a mobile offering, but that does not make Wal-Mart Mobile particularly special either.

What is special about Wal-Mart Mobile? Wal-Mart is integrating the mobile offering into an integrated marketing and merchandising strategy in a multiplatform approach. Wal-Mart has over 3,600 stores in the US. Wal-Mart has also deployed one of the most advanced digital signage networks. Those signs will promote the mobile offering. In the current push, Wal-Mart is promoting The Eagles, with exclusive $1.99 ringtones to complement in-store promotions. The digital signs will include a shortcode that allow for instant purchase. Additionally, Wal-Mart will be able to instantly measure the effectiveness of its digital signage merchandising efforts by time of day, advertising content and location.

This is a viable move seeing that the vast majority of impulse buys are triggered when a person is shopping. Hear a killer tune in the store. See a hot video. Punch in the short code. Instant gratification.

The solution is compelling on three fronts. Wal-Mart has captive eyes that it can monetize with its digital signage solution. Secondly, the mobile offering creates interactivity and revenue, making the signage solution interactive, taking the experience from a passive to an engaged experience. Third, Wal-Mart gets critically important advertising metrics on the effectiveness and impact of their digital signage network. Such metrics are vital in Wal-Mart's efforts to sell advertising on their signage network to third parties.

Integrated new media marketing approaches is one of the major themes covered by a recent report on digital adverting by MultiMedia Intelligence. The report, "Advertising & Technology Collide," asserts that traditional content owners like music labels, studios, television affiliates, game publishers, and cable and satellite providers are being pulled into the new technology-driven world as disruptive technologies such as time shifted TV, Internet delivered content, and mobile video change media consumption habits. For more information, visit

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Rick Sizemore


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