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Sunday, 31 May 2009 11:17

Mobile content consumption growth on social networks

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There’s been a steady rise in mobile content consumption on social networks, with mobile content services in the Asia Pacific region grossing US$29.1 billion for vendors last year and significant growth forecast for the next four years.

A market study just released by analysts, Frost & Sullivan, shows the steady rise in mobile content consumption, along with an increase in the use of other new applications such as location-based services and mobile
advertising.

Frost & Sullivan say that ringback tones and mobile music, however, still remain the top revenue earners, accounting for about 21.4 percent, or US$6.2 billion, of the Asia Pacific 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.

According to the firm’s senior industry analyst, Jeff Teh, the demand for such mobile entertainment content is driven by the increasing mobile lifestyles of consumers and the desire to personalise, and, he adds, “it has become fairly important for subscribers to accessorise and personalise their mobile devices to differentiate themselves from their peers.”

Teh says that paid mobile content services across 13 Asia-Pacific countries grossed an estimated US$29.1 billion in 2008.

“Growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 23.6 percent (2008-2013), revenues are expected to breach US$75.6 billion by end-2013, driven largely by consumer demand for mobile entertainment applications such as music and video,” Teh forecasts.

Teh also says that mobile entertainment applications - which include ringtones, music, videos, mobile games, wallpapers, graphics, icons and betting - dominated premium content consumption accounting for 44.4 percent (US$12.9 billion) of the revenues last year, and this is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.3 percent (2008-2013), at a value of US$34.3 billion by end-2013.
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According to Teh, mobile information services, including news, search engines, location-based navigation, thesaurus and such, raked-in revenues of US$5.2 billion (17.9) percent of total premium content market) in 2008, whilst other premium content services such as mobile commerce, mobile banking, mobile e-mail, mobile advertising, accounted for 37.7 percent (US$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, and Teh says that, apart from what he calls “a tech-savvy and mobile-lifestyle generation”, he 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.”

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,” he adds.

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