The market for ringtones in Ireland this year will be valued at €16m, according to O2 Ireland’s product director, Campbell Scott, who was speaking at this morning’s O2 Digital Media Conference in Dublin. Campbell quoted research from Strategy Analytics that claimed the overall mobile music market is forecast to grow to €5bn by 2008.
In the UK ringtones have already begun to outsell the sales of CD singles, with some €365m being spent a year. By comparison, the Irish ringtone market will grow to €16m in 2004, according to Jupiter Research.
Aware of this potential, mobile network operators have been marshalling their forces in order to exploit the ringtone opportunity. According to Scott: “O2, which is partnered with MTV, provides O2 customers with O2 Music, which allows customers to search on their mobile or digital music device by charts, artist, genre and what’s hot.” He pointed out that Irish music CD sales were €108m last year, according to IRMA figures. Photo Messaging is another strong growth area which is predicted to grow to €2bn by 2008, according to Strategy Analytics.
Peter Coyle, executive director of Enterprise Ireland, concurred with these growth patterns. He said: “Although entertainment is a relatively new sector and is currently in the early growth stages, the potential for enormous growth is remarkable.”
“Enterprise Ireland is very committed to developing this sector in Ireland and we have been investing substantially to support this, particularly over the last two years. The accumulated revenue for Enterprise Ireland Client companies within the digital media entertainment sector is projected to be €160m by the end of 2004. These same revenues also have the potential to grow to at least €230m at the very minimum by 2007.”
Coyle also said that Enterprise Ireland has invested €2.5m in the Digital Media Incubator seed capital project. “Although the industry is not without its challenges, we always strive for more R&D investment and the availability of funds or seed capital. We need to grow the domestic base into overseas exports and to create management strength and the capability to grow internationally competitive businesses.”
By John Kennedy