Apple unveils iAd

Hollywood eyes new i-branding offering

Apple is about to make it easier for Hollywood to use the iPhone as a promotional tool to tubthump new movies and TV shows.

The company unveiled iAd as its latest i-branded offering that will enable marketers to more effectively create spots that are integrated in popular Apps on the mobile device.

The mobile advertising platform, Apple’s first foray into the space that Google has dominated online, won’t just help marketers but turn into a lucrative new revenue source for the computer maker, as well, especially as more consumers stare at their mobile devices.

Apple will sell and host ad created for iAd. Developers will receive 60% of the revenue.

“We have a lot of free or reasonably priced Apps,” said Apple chief Steve Jobs while showing off iAd’s capabilities during a developers conference in Cupertino, Calif. on Thursday, after unveiling the next version of the iPhone’s operating system that rolls out this summer. “We like that, but our developers have to find ways to make money. So [they] are putting ads into apps, and for lack of a better way to say it, we think most of this kind of advertising sucks.”

Studios have already benefitted from making games and other interactive offerings available as downloadable Apps for free or a minimum fee for the 50 million of iPhones on the market. There are 35 million iPod Touch devices, on which Apps can also be installed.

The studio offerings are usually some of the most downloaded because they’re entertainment-related or associated with recognizable brands.

In the past, ads found in Apps frustrated users because when tapped the program they were using would close. New platform opens a new window alongside the running App.

Ads are built using HTML5, allowing them to resemble flashy Apps iPhone users are already used to.

Jobs used an interactive ad for Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 3” as an example of what studios can do. When tapped, the ad popped up a new window that offered up film clips, a GPS that located the closest theaters playing the toon and mini games.

Jobs said iPhone users typically spend an average of 30 minutes per day using Apps.

The iPhone’s new operating system will also be adaptable for the iPad, as well, but the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPod Touches won’t be able to upgrade to the new system.

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