USA Today's publisher Gannett (GCI) announced last week that it has invested in private mobile search company 4Info, and has entered a marketing and distribution agreement with the company. According to the joint press release the companies will begin their collaboration with USA Today and expand to other Gannett newspaper and broadcast operations. According to Business 2.0:
Starting in early February, USA Today will run ads in its sports, weather, and finance sections encouraging readers to send text messages with queries such as "Lakers," "GOOG," or "UAL 2767" to a short code managed by 4Info. Within seconds, users will receive an automated text message back with the score of the latest Lakers game, a Google stock quote, or the status of a United flight...
Across the U.S., newspapers have battled dwindling circulation as younger readers turn to other sources of news. While USA Today's circulation is holding steady at 2.3 million, Gannett is eager to attract younger readers. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, almost two out of three cellphone subscribers between the ages of 18 and 27 use text messaging, while only 7 percent of cellphone subscribers over 60 send text messages.
This is the first foray of a major newspaper chain into the wireless search space. But Gannett is no stranger to making significant inroads in media outside of printed newspaper. Last month we wrote about CareerBuilder, a company owned by Gannett, Knight Ridder and Tribune, taking the lead in the online jobs market. Let's see if they can replicate this success in mobile.