Disappointment in growth of content platform market

29 Apr 2008

Mobile phone users are buying more and more content from their operators, resulting in the mobile content platform market growing almost 20pc to reach US$3.4bn in 2007.

Research firm Multimedia Intelligence said the market for premium mobile content platforms accounted for US$3.4bn share of the US$18.5bn of revenue generated by the mobile premium content market, which included ringtones, music, mobile games and video.

According to Multimedia Intelligence, mobile users are increasingly looking for personalised and enhanced entertainment on their handsets, and mobile content platform providers like Qualcomm and Alcatel-Lucent are benefiting.

However, the near 20pc growth in this market was down on expectations

“Many industries would be thrilled with 20pc growth. While the mobile content platform and digital commerce services companies find it disappointing, much of the issue is out of their hands,” said Frank Dickson, chief research officer with MultiMedia Intelligence.

“The ringtone market is softening, while other content categories are failing to live-up to expectations. Additionally, the mobile content platform and digital commerce services companies sit in the mobile content ecosystem, stuck between the more powerful operators and content owners.

“The operators have tremendous power as they own the subscriber. The content companies have power as they own the content that individuals want. The revenue distribution among the different industry segments reflects this power imbalance.”

Multimedia Intelligence predicted the market will begin to see the emergence of advertising in premium content, with video becoming the dominant driver.

Mobile music is still dominated by ringtones, although the growth of the category has been hampered by the decline of polyphonic ringtones, which has chipped away at the gains made by music ringtones.

By Niall Byrne