Yahoo Inc. will begin selling branded advertising to mobile phones customers in Canada and 17 other countries as the internet company looks for new revenue sources to challenge industry rival Google.

The new mobile marketing platform to be unveiled Monday will deliver image-based ads to mobile phones in four more countries in the Americas, five in Western Europe and eight in the Asia-Pacific region. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company launched a similar campaign in the United States in November.

Yahoo said it has lined up commitments from such advertisers as Intel Corp., PepsiCo Inc. and Proctor & Gamble Co. The advertisements will run along the top of Yahoo's home page on the Internet screens of mobile phones.

"This is really about Yahoo staking out its leadership in the emerging space on the mobile phone," said Steve Boom, senior vice-president for mobile and broadband.

$11.35 billion market expected by 2011

The mobile advertising market was estimated at $871 million US, or 0.2 per cent of the overall advertising industry, in 2006. But by 2011, the market will reach $11.35 billion, according to a study published last year by U.S. research firm Informa Telecoms & Media.

Yahoo's branded advertising will now be available in:

  • The Americas: The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.
  • Western Europe: Britain, Ireland, Germany, Spain, France and Italy.
  • Asia-Pacific: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Yahoo has fallen behind Google in the internet search advertising market in recent years, and last week unveiled a new system — dubbed Project Panama — to deliver more targeted ads to accompany search results.

Both companies announced strategic alliances with mobile companies at last month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in anticipation of a boom in the mobile ad market as more and more models of phones come with higher-resolution colour screens and internet browsers.

Yahoo announced partnerships with Motorola Inc., Nokia Corp. and Research In Motion Ltd. as it launched its "oneSearch" product, a search tool designed to reduce the number ofclicks to find information. Google has also entered an agreement with Samsung to make its ubiquitous search tool available to Samsung's mobilecustomers.

With files from the Associated Press