ESPN looks to pay US mobile carriers to make its websites unmetered

Disney-owned sports media company ESPN is reportedly looking at paying US mobile carriers to make its mobile sites and data unmetered for customers.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, under the proposal ESPN, rather than the end user, would be charged the download fee when a mobile phone user accesses content from is mobile website, with the company hoping to make up the difference through advertising.

While it’s unclear which carriers the sports content company has entered into talks with, it is believed Verizon Wireless is interested in the proposal.

“We are actively exploring those opportunities and looking at every way to bring value to our customers,” Verizon Wireless chief executive Dan Mead says.

The news comes against the backdrop of shifting dynamics in the US mobile advertising market, as reported by SmartCompany.

Recent IDC figures show that in the display sector of the US mobile ad market, publishers (including social media services and online publishers such as ESPN) controlled 52% of US mobile display revenue in 2012, compared to just 39% in 2011, at the expense of ad networks (companies that display advertising in other company’s apps and mobile sites).

In turn, mobile display advertising in the US accounted for 39% of all mobile ads in the US during 2012, with traditional web search ads still accounting for 61% of sales.

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