**As published in RCR Wireless News** SEATTLE — While demand for mobile ads is growing, supply is exploding, Millennial Media CEO Paul Palmieri said here at Mobile Future Forward on Wednesday. In many ways, it’s both a blessing and a curse. “Mobile is more in a growth phase than the online world overall … but I would not at all say that online has matured, we just have to think about it differently,” said Louis Gump, VP of mobile at CNN.
Palmieri predicts a “second wave” in mobile advertising that will go beyond the level of excitement that developers have for any new platform or operating system update. The ad platform is close to becoming as powerful and meaningful as the development platform for developers, he said. Rob Glaser, chairman of RealNetworks Inc. and partner at Accel, said the value of advertising on mobile has moved a “quantum leap ahead” what was previously availably primarily thanks to the advent of what he calls super phones. “Anyway you measure it, it’s a quantum leap from other phones,” he added. “The U.S. has gone from being a follower in many ways to being a leader” in the mobile market. Gump concurred, calling content consumption on powerful mobile devices nothing short of a revolution. “I believe that mobile advertising is the growth engine for many mobile companies in the United States, he said, but he also thinks there is an over-reliance on free to point where it might not be sustainable. While he added that he doesn’t “have a single prescription for any company,” Gump said that premium content companies, like CNN presumably, have to walk a fine line between maintaining the value of their content and not foregoing any opportunities to reach more eyeballs. For its part, CNN charges 99 cents for its iOS app. While the entire space watches Apple Inc. and Google Inc. as they integrate their mobile ad networks into their OS of choice, Glaser said he doesn’t expect that to remain the norm for the long run. Of course, the value of advertising (at least in traditional terms) is directly tied to the number of eyes and ears that it reaches. Reach and audience will likely rule out any alternative over time. Tablets as a new outlet Millenial Media’s Palmieri also talked about tablets, like Apple’s iPad, and where he sees them fitting into the mobile ad equation. “The focus for us for those devices now is to work very deeply with the creative agencies and clients to make immersive experiences,” he said. Nonetheless, “it’s very nascent at this point. The audience is very small on those devices,” he added. He doesn’t expect tablets to become a viable additive reach for advertisers and marketers for at least another 12 to 18 months.