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New services link mobile users to online magazines - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Two companies are combining online-only glossy magazines with mobile short message texting services to link mobile handset users to Internet publications even when they are not online. The companies — Norwegian publisher Fast Forward Media Group and Belgian technology company Allisblue — presented their new ways of connecting consumers to publications on Thursday at a conference of European publishers.

Many of the publishers are struggling to find ways to earn money on the Internet, which is luring away readers of their print publications.

With the new combination, consumers on the go will be able to send keywords to a short telephone number from their handsets, after which they will be sent emails with links to magazines they have requested, the two companies said.

The animated magazines, which can be leafed through like real magazines, feature links to music, film and other multimedia content, which is sponsored by advertisers or which can be bought and paid for from the mobile phone account. Fast Forward Media said it would start the service with free online magazines such as PlayMusicMagazine.com. It expected to add more keywords, enabling consumers to compile tailored magazines and messages.

Allisblue provides patented SMS-to-email technology, which allows consumers to send text messages instantly after picking up keywords from friends, billboards or on the radio and then find links to magazines in their email inboxes when they log on.

&#34Almost everyone has a mobile phone, and 70 percent have email addresses, but outside the office, 18 to 35 years olds are only online for an average 35 minutes a day. The rest of the time they”re in the real world, carrying a mobile. This connects them to the online world,&#34 said Allisblue Chief Executive Eric Delfosse.

He said he was talking to three venture capitalist firms about additional funds to boost expansion of this service.

Allisblue is starting in Belgium on short dial 3699 and will bring the service to other European countries. Telecoms operators can also expect to get a cut from the premium SMS services.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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