Web-over-mobile firm SurfKitchen set for hire

SurfKitchen, which develops and provides web portals for mobile phone operators, is reviewing its UK PR strategy.

The market-leading UK-headquartered firm wants to capitalise on the burgeoning mobile entertainment and download markets.

SurfKitchen is believed to have held discussions with at least three agencies - Hotwire, Blanc & Otus and Berkeley PR - over a new UK account.

The company currently uses Grant Butler Coomber, which was unavailable to comment as PRWeek went to press. It is not known if the agency is in the running for a new contract.

The global mobile entertainment sector, worth around £4.5bn in 2003, is expected to have a value of £15bn in 2008, according to recent figures from market research firm Arc Group. The market for download­able games and ringtones stands at nearly £6bn.

SurfKitchen provides a ‘white-label search platform' that allows mobile phone users to download web content to handsets.

Making this process as quick as possible will boost the number of mobile operators seeking to exploit this rising revenue stream, the firm said. It cited research showing that 80 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds aborted downloads if they took longer than ten seconds.

Last month Google and Microsoft announced deals - with telecoms operator 3 and US carrier Sprint Nextel respectively - to place their search engines on handsets.

Internet groups are increasingly seeking alliances with mobile providers as rivalry in the traditional internet search market intensifies. SurfKitchen clients include Orange and O2 in Europe, Telstra in Australia and Etisalat in the Middle East.

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