Ninemsn: WAP wave will trigger real revenue

Online advertising sponsorship will be the "key revenue stream" for Ninemsn in the short to mid-term, said company corporate development director Aaron Pedersen.

In fact, Pedersen estimated a staggering 95 per cent of the Packer-Microsoft joint venture's revenues were currently attracted through advertising sponsorship. Ninemsn did not expect to gain high revenues through transactions until "some time down the track".

"The internet user does not believe content should be paid for," he said.

Pedersen predicted the advent of wireless internet would see a surge in end-user acceptance of payments for content services such as messaging and news, sport, weather and share market feeds.

Mobile phone users are already accustomed to receiving monthly bills, so would be more willing to pay based on the amount of usage for wireless services such as these, he said.

Therefore, "wireless could be a content-based revenue stream", he said.

Pedersen said Ninemsn's strategy for providing wireless application protocol (WAP) services would involve partnering with carriers and networking infrastructure providers.

Although Ninemsn suffered a blow earlier this year when a content provision deal with C&W Optus fell through, Pedersen said the company would only consider building its own wireless infrastructure as a "last-ditch alternative".

"It (building wireless infrastructure) is a pretty serious commitment."

Ninemsn, which made losses of $22.1 million on revenues of $8.23 million for the 1998-99 financial year, launched its own WAP service in February this year. Pedersen said the company would complement this service with a WAP-oriented portal on its website within four to six weeks.

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