Coming to a PDF near you: advertisements

Soon Adobe's popular document format will include functionality to support advertising, thanks to a new partnership with Yahoo.

The two companies are framing the service as a way to allow publishers to offer their content on an ad-supported basis. This could also accelerate the adoption of PDF as a way to deliver paper content to subscribers in electronic form.

It also highlights a growing trend among content providers to offer free access to content. With the online paid subscriber model in most cases having trouble taking hold as a viable method, many have turned to ad-supported free content.

"By partnering with Yahoo on this innovative advertising service, we are creating opportunities for publishers to build new businesses around unique content that previously was just given away or not available to a mass online audience," Adobe corporate development chief Rob Tarkoff said.

Yahoo's move also ups the ante against its chief competitor the advertising space, Google. In the past year alone it has signed several deals to expand this portion of its business, including advertising deals with eBay, Comcast, and several newspapers.

Ads within the PDFs would appear in a side panel and would only be viewable by those using Adobe's readers, as to "not disrupt the viewing experience." Ads would be dynamically matched to the content within the PDF, Adobe said.

The offering would be in beta for several months, and would be open initially only to US English-language publishers.

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