The Associated Press says it has sold iCircular, a service it developed to help newspapers and retailers place more advertising on mobile phones. The buyer, Wanderful Media, is a digital advertising company based in Los Gatos, Calif.
The companies did not give financial terms of the deal, which closed on Oct. 30.
ICircular is the mobile-phone equivalent of the stacks of coupons and other promotions that are inserted into print editions of weekend newspapers. The AP, a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by newspapers, launched iCircular in September 2011 to test the service with a limited number of newspapers and retailers.
The New York Daily News, Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune were among an initial group of 40 newspapers using iCircular on their mobile phone applications. By the time Wanderful purchased iCircular, the project had expanded to more than 180 publications. It also had 21 retailers, including Target Corp., Macy's Inc. and Kmart, running ads.
The AP had always planned to sell iCircular, said Jessica Bruce, an AP vice president. The plan, she said, was to incubate and test the product on behalf of the industry to see if there was interest among newspapers, retailers and customers.
Wanderful Media owns the "Find n Save" brand of about 275 local shopping websites and helps retailers run local digital advertisements. Its goal is to reinvent the circular advertising business for the digital age. It is backed by 12 media companies, including The Washington Post Co. and Gannett Co., the publisher of USA Today. Wanderful had been operating under the name ShopCo Holdings until September, when it began using its current name.
Wanderful said it plans to use iCircular to broaden its products for mobile devices and tablet computers.