2Roam Inks Wireless Content Deals

2Roam, a Redwood City, Calif.-based wireless software and services provider, has inked deals with Tribune Interactive and Forbes.com, extending the online content of both companies into any handheld wireless device. The financial terms of agreements were not disclosed.

The decision for major media companies to go wireless isn’t necessarily based on increasing revenue, said 2Roam CEO Tom Jackson. Although wireless advertising hasn’t taken off yet, Jackson cited expanded channels of distribution and increased brand loyalty as major reasons why clients would want to sign on for 2Roam’s services.

He also highlighted the increasingly competitive forces within the wireless market and projected growth of the medium as incentives for companies to get on board early. “Signing up paying customers is the hallmark of good business in the emerging wireless Web world,” said Gerry Purdy, president and CEO of Mobile Insights, a market research firm based in Mountain View, Calif. Indeed, building a strong client base is an integral part of 2Roam’s business strategy moving forward.

However, Purdy also commented on the challenge major sites have in trying to decide which technology players best suit their needs, and he predicted an inevitable consolidation of wireless providers over the next few years. Similarly, Jupiter Media Metrix analyst Dylan Brooks said that although there is minimal ad revenue available via wireless devices right now, media sites can expect to increase brand awareness and drive traffic back to their Web sites with a wireless presence.

Tribune Interactive will initially launch six new wireless sites using the 2Roam services, including latimes.com, newsday.com and chicagotribune.com. Jackson noted that companies such as Tribune will be apt to grab the attention of a new, young, tech-savvy demographic by going wireless.

Forbes.com will use the wireless services to deliver daily news, focusing on technology, communications, e-commerce and global trends. Customers will also be able to access stock quotes, market updates and financial calendars from their WAP-enabled cell phones, PDAs, two-way pagers and handheld computers.