Research predicts massive global popularity for ringback tones

19 Aug 2008

Ringback tones are quickly becoming the ‘Golden Child’ of the mobile music market, with worldwide revenue predicted to nearly triple to US$4.7bn by 2012, according to research released today by MultiMedia Intelligence.

This means ringback tones will fall just short of mobile gaming revenue in capturing the largest share of the mobile premium content market (not including mobile video and mobile TV).

Ringback tones allow you to customise what someone hears when they call you – it could be a clip of music or a voice recording. It’s a feature of the network you use, not the phone.

Overall, the global retail market for mobile premium is projected to reach US$29bn by 2012, according to MultiMedia Intelligence.

Developed markets, such as Japan and Korea, have seen dramatic growth in premium content, with some operators seeing data revenue exceed 30pc of total service revenue.

Retail mobile music is nearly a mature market in South Korea, but an expanding market in Japan. By 2012, the mobile music market in Japan, for example, will be over seven times the size of the mobile music market in South Korea, according to Multimedia Intelligence.

As key Asian markets continue to evolve in this area, growth has shifted to Europe and then the Americas.

“Ringback tones are on track to become the most attractive mobile content category by 2012, due to a winning combination of consumer popularity, and minimal impact from DRM or piracy,” said Frank Dickson, chief research officer with Multimedia Intelligence.

“The current leading mobile premium content category of realtones is already facing challenges. Consumers increasingly are able to create their own ringtones. The price disparity compared to a full-track download is also a growing factor.”

By Sorcha Corcoran