As we reported on Friday, start-up company Blyk is to offer free mobile calls and texts to UK youngsters. The service is set to launch this summer, but Blyk has already signed up with some big names that will send adverts to users' handsets.
Blyk today announced that it has signed up with Coca-Cola , L'Oréal , Yell.com , recruiting firm Stepstone , and Buena Vista - part of the Disney media empire - to provide adverts that will pay for the free calls offered to users.
Aimed at 16- to 24-year-olds, Blyk is also said to be close to signing a deal with mobile operator Orange to host its service. Neither of the companies would confirm this.
Users signing up to the Blyk service will be asked to list their likes and dislikes in order to target them with relevant advertising. Regular questionnaires will be sent out to users.
"We will collect the profiles of the young consumers, or members as we call them, who use the service to find out their areas of interest," said Blyk co-founder Pekka Ala-Pietilä. "By understanding the preferences of our customers, advertisers will be able to create very relevant campaigns."
The adverts are likely to include video and interactive content, as well as text and voice services for lower-end mobile handsets.
Blyk has also signed up mobile gaming group I-play . "Blyk provides visibility on who and when people are playing mobile games, information which the industry has been sorely in need of," said I-play CEO David Gosen.
It is not yet known how users will receive the Blyk service. Ala-Pietilä suggested that users may be able to use their existing mobile phones instead of buying a new handset when they join.
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