Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ringback tones, music top mobile content consumption

MALAYSIA: The past year has seen a steady rise in the consumption of [mobile] premium content on social networks and communities, as well as other new applications such as location-based services and mobile advertising.

Ringback tones and mobile music, however, still remain the top revenue earners, accounting for about 21.4 percent ($6.2 billion) of the region’s mobile content revenues in 2008, and are expected to continue to top mobile operators’ and content providers’ billings in the next five to six years.

“The demand for such mobile entertainment content is driven by the increasing mobile lifestyles of consumers and the desire to personalise,” says Frost & Sullivan senior industry analyst Jeff Teh. “It has become fairly important for subscribers to accessorise and personalise their mobile devices to differentiate themselves from their peers.”

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan Asia-Pacific Premium Content Market, finds that paid mobile content services across 13 Asia-Pacific countries grossed an estimated $29.1 billion in 2008. Growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 23.6 percent (2008-2013), revenues are expected to breach $75.6 billion by end-2013, driven largely by consumer demand for mobile entertainment applications such as music and video.

Mobile entertainment applications, which include ringtones, music, videos, mobile games, wallpapers, graphics, icons and betting, dominated premium content consumption accounting for 44.4 percent ($12.9 billion) of the revenues last year. This is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.3 percent (2008-2013) to be valued at $34.3 billion by end-2013.

Mobile information services, including news, search engines, location-based navigation, thesaurus and such, raked-in revenues of $5.2 billion (17.9 percent of total premium content market) in 2008. While other premium content services such as mobile commerce, mobile banking, mobile e-mail, mobile advertising et al. accounted for 37.7 percent ($10.9 billion) of revenues last year. Mobile information and other premium services are forecasted to grow at CAGRs of 25.8 and 23 percent from 2008 to 2013, respectively.

Apart from a tech-savvy and mobile-lifestyle generation, Teh attributes this growth to mobile social networks which are fuelling mobile usage and opening-up mobile commerce opportunities, enabling users to send virtual or tangible items to each other. This is further driven by greater use of mobile Internet, the maturity of mobile networks and flat-rate data plans, prompting consumption of premium content.

Premium content accounted for 44.7 percent of mobile operators’ total data revenues in 2008. The remaining 55.3 percent, not surprisingly, accrued from basic messaging (SMS - short message service).

According to Teh: “Inexpensive, simple and ubiquitous messaging will continue to be the primary contributor to mobile data revenues, at least for the next two to three years. Premium content however, especially mobile entertainment applications, are becoming hugely popular. By 2012, content revenues could well outstrip messaging revenues -- if the main challenges of often unclear [content] purchase and pricing mechanisms, as well as non-transparent mobile data charges can be overcome.”

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