JiWire Europe Launches

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

JiWire, leading location-based media company reaching the On-The-Go Audience in the US, is launching JiWire Europe, its first overseas operation based in the U.K.

The specialist Wi-Fi media channel, which has exclusive partnerships in the US with AT&T, T-Mobile and Boingo, has been appointed by BT Openzone, who will work closely with JiWire Europe to deliver targeted third-party advertising across nearly 185,000 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the UK, including premium venues such as cafes, leading hotels, airports, and wireless cities.

JiWire’s UK operations are being spearheaded by digital industry veterans and investors Mark Hindmarsh and Peter Jones, joint managing directors, who have over 15 years of extensive experience in successfully founding and building several media and technology companies, and helping U.S. companies build their European operations. Hindmarsh, has co-founded, managed and advised a number of innovative start-ups, including yet2.com, Coull and Tracking.net. Jones launched audience targeting tool X+1 in the UK before bringing SearchRev to Europe and prior to that held senior agency roles at TBWA\GGT and Arc Worldwide, formerly IMP.

JiWire will offer its unique set of advertising programmes, including ‘Captive Display’, which provides brands highly visible presence whenever a person connects, and ‘Ads for Access’ which is a guaranteed engagement program for deep brand interaction.

The UK platform enables advertisers and their agencies to reach the UK’s growing ‘On-The-Go’ audience, which is increasingly accessing internet via Wi-Fi on their laptops, mobile phones, iPads and other devices during the course of a day. Advertising can be targeted to the point of connection by location, venue type, and by device. In the US, JiWire has enabled over 100 premium brand advertisers, including Microsoft, Jeep, Virgin America, Hyatt Place, and Buick to reach millions of people on the move.

BT Openzone will be the first wireless internet service provider to work with JiWire Europe. BT has established an extensive high-speed public wireless network of nearly 2 million public Wi-Fi locations across the UK and Ireland providing Wi-Fi connectivity in a variety of premium venues including Starbucks, Welcome Break, Roadchef Motorway Services, American Airline lounges, Thistle, Ramada Jarvis, Forestdale and Menzies hotels. Customers may find BT hotpots at www.btopenzone.com/find.

Chris Bruce CEO, BT Openzone, says, “We operate the largest Wi-Fi network across the UK offering fast download speeds, unrivalled support and maintenance enabling us to deliver a quality experience for consumers together with our venue partners. Last year the number of minutes of people being online via our Wi-Fi connections doubled to 1 billion across approximately 2 million publicly available hotspots in the UK. JiWire has pioneered the monetisation of the US Wi-Fi marketplace for several years and is a leader in location-based advertising across online and mobile, and thus make an excellent company for us to work with as we look to engage our consumers and add value to our venue partners.”

JiWire has monetised on-the-go audiences in the US since 2003, serving approximately 20m unique users per month across 30,000 venue locations in the US as well as a portfolio of mobile applications. The launch of JiWire Europe increases the available location-based inventory that JiWire can offer its advertisers.

David Courtney, CEO of JiWire, says, “Our U.S. Business is seeing tremendous growth, and now is the right time to expand our business to Europe, especially as we are seeing the same growth trends occurring in that market. More people are on-the-go and using a variety of devices to remain connected, fuelling consumer demand for Wi-Fi and driving advertiser demand to reach this audience. We are excited to be jumpstarting this business in partnership with BT, one of the dominant leaders not only in WI-FI, but the overall European telecom market.”

Peter Jones, joint managing director of JiWire U.K., says, “JiWire’s contextual location-based advertising platform enables consumers to engage with a brand in an innovative, captive way. In response to Wi-Fi growth in the UK, users become ever more mobile. We are combining the forces of the UK’s largest Wi-Fi provider with the world’s largest location-based interactive media channel to create a new platform for advertisers and a high quality user experience for consumers.”

Last month, JiWire released its Q2 2010 Mobile Audience Insights Report, which examines mobile connectivity, device use and consumer preferences for location-based content and advertising. This revealed that more than half of the On-The-Go Audience in the US is willing to share its location through location applications or services to receive location-specific advertising. 36% of the On-The-Go Audience are interested in receiving location-based advertising about the closest stores and 37% are using their location apps in their local area just as much as when travelling. The use of public Wi-Fi continues to grow as more Wi-Fi enabled devices emerge and more venues over the service for free. In America, hotels and airports saw a significant increase in total visits on Wi-Fi media growing 22.5% and 22.6% respectively over the quarter.

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