Mobile Entertainment Forum says 2010 means recovery

The Mobile Entertainment Forum’s (MEF) fourth Business Confidence Index (BCI), compiled by KPMG, points to signs of recovery and a clear trajectory of revenue growth of 28% for the coming year.

The latest BCI survey of the MEF Membership, representative of the whole mobile media entertainment value chain, demonstrates a fourth consecutive growth prediction since January 2009 and a clear trend that the industry consistently projects growth in the region of 25-35% for the next 12 months.

Andrew Bud, global chair of MEF, commented: “Our industry has faced a difficult period, but these latest findings clearly show that confidence in the growth of our industry has not diminished in the last year. 81% of respondents report that their actual performance for the last quarter was either better than or in line with budget, and viewed alongside the consistent and significant market growth predictions being made by our industry is very positive news as we move into a new year.”

MEF’s Top 10 Mobile Media Trends for 2010 showed fragmentation and variance amongst handsets and now application stores will continue to plague the industry, however the growth of applications on the Android platform will close the gap on Apple’s App Store.

Operator enabling services will start to be widely deployed, facilitating the growth of rich media content that is simpler, faster and offers a better user experience
Media publishers will start to experiment with micro-payments, subscription service models and alternative payment methods which challenge the operators’ dominance, with Rupert Murdoch’s decision to charge for online media content highlighting an already fierce debate.

Books will emerge as a new and popular content category for smartphones and technology innovation will continue, with content developers experimenting with 3D mobile video viewers and augmented reality for mobile.

The emerging risk of illicit charging by in-app billing will be met by firm regulatory action. Significant tightening of premium rate regulation in the Atlantic region will spread across the world.

2010 will be the year of multiplatform dual-delivery of content including music, video and games, across mobile phones, TVs and PCs. The growing consumer demand for data-heavy services will put greater pressure on networks, with flat rate data tariffs increasingly subjected to stringent download limits. And complexity, confusion and ambiguity in the application of rights to the mobile platform will be addressed seriously in 2010.

Rimma Perelmuter, MEF executive director, added: “The BCI demonstrates growing demand for paid-for mobile content. As with previous findings, 61% of revenues for the next quarter are projected to come from subscription and one off purchases. There is also consensus amongst respondents that applications will provide a substantial additional revenue source. Half of the revenue projected to come from applications in the next quarter will be from paid for apps.”

While Mark Harding, director of digital content at KPMG, who analysed the survey findings, stated that: “Following some uncertainty in the market over the last 12 months, headcount growth actually exceeded the projections made last quarter and respondents predict further headcount growth in the coming quarter. Applications have developed considerably as a driver of growth over the past 6 months, illustrating the dynamism of this new business model for monetising mobile content.

“The findings also identified regional variations in outlook,” continued Harding. “Central and South America have demonstrated great potential and confidence, with growth predicted for this region for each quarter to date, up from a projected 2% share for the year ending December 2009 to an actual share of 9% of the market for the year ending September 2009. Respondents believe Africa, the Middle East and China will see increases in revenues for the next 12 months, while established and other emerging markets are forecasting relatively stable revenues. Overall, these are very positive findings following a necessary period of adjustment and refocus.”