JiWire Launches UK Location-based Wi-fi Ads

Location-based media firm JiWire, which has previously operated solely in the US, is  launching JiWire Europe, its first overseas operation, based in the UK.

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

The UK platform enables advertisers and to reach the UK’s growing ‘on-the-go’ audience, which is increasingly accessing the web via wi-fi on their laptops, mobiles, iPads and other devices during the course of a day. Advertising can be targeted to the point of connection by location, venue type, and 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.

JiWire’s UK operations will be spearheaded by digital industry veterans and investors Mark Hindmarsh and Peter Jones, who have over 15 years’ experience in successfully founding and building media and technology companies, and helping US companies build their European operations. Hindmarsh, has co-founded, managed and advised a number of 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 TBWAGGT and Arc Worldwide, formerly IMP.

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 2m 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.

“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,” says BT Openzone CEO, Chris Bruce.

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, which range from automotive and B2B companies to consumer electronics, finance, entertainment and travel brands.

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 per cent said they were interested in receiving location-based advertising about the closest stores, while 37 per cent are using their location apps in their local area just as much as when travelling.