Mobile content market, which dates back to 1998, is one of the youngest and rapidly expanding not only in the Eastern Europe but also in the world. Colour displays, wide range of functions of mobile handsets and high-speed Internet-connection form an attractive ground for downloadable content. As a result, mobile content sales also increase.
Mobile connection penetration in the Eastern Europe is reaching 75% to 80%, which means the mobile market is close to saturation. Thus, that it will be hard for mobile operators to use the factor of extensive growth to stimulate revenues increase. As the revenues from voice services keep declining, mobile operators seem to become more focused on new data services and value added services.
VAS (value added services) both infotainment and business, represent one of the richest potential markets for wireless industry.
A representative of one of the largest Ukrainian mobile operators who was present at the first Ukrainian Mobile Monday conference this September shared his vision of the future of the Ukrainian mobile content market:
‘Currently, mobile operators are more interested in introducing all sorts of content services and are open for co-operation with content providers on mutually profitable basis. Obviously content delivery gives a great opportunity not only for content developers but also for wireless operators. Besides, we should not discard emerge of new technologies, in particular the launch of 3G network in Ukraine at the end of 2006, which has been successfully presented at Mobile Monday by Oksana Ferchuk from Ukraine Telesystems. And we are definitely going to use the present state of things to our advantage.’
Generally, the Eastern Europe mobile content market is more of an entertainment kind. The share of business applications is definitely not large. One of the main elements of this market is the segment of handsets customization which includes ringtones, realtones, images and Java games. Different content gives different profit: maximum revenue (71%) comes from the sale of ringtones, logos and Java games. Interactive services (SMS-games, quizzes and chats) produce 22% of general revenue, 1% – info and 6% – media projects. According to the research company iKS Consulting (Russia) the mobile content market amount in 2005 exceeded 51 mln. USD in Ukraine and 340 mln. USD in Russia (VAS generate 11% of total income of wireless operators in Eastern Europe, while in Western Europe it is 15% to 20%).
Dynamics of mobile content market development exceeds rates of wireless penetration. According to the research company J’son&Partners in 2005 the mobile content market capacity reached 6,5 bln. USD.
– Yet, why is there a slight recession in this market segment that we observe at the moment?
We asked a content providers representative who was also present at the first Mobile Monday Ukraine meeting to comment on the situation. Here is what our responder says:
‘The recession is caused by lack of innovative types of content which can get under customers’ skin. Obviously, there are very few well-known and recognizable trademarks on our market yet. However, people are more interested in the essence of applications than in the name of a provider – customers just want unique and original content. Although our company pays great attention to the variety of content we offer, we still feel that our assortment is somehow limited while many other Ukrainian content providers present even worse choice.’
Another question is ‘What are the trends in mobile content?’
As for mobile games, those written in Java, especially card and casino games become more and more popular among game downloads. It is the prospective trend, since game developers and publishers are not bound geographically and can sell their products all over the world. Moreover, an average user, who downloads content, is very young – 10 to 25 years old. Yet, to win the customer, providers should offer only the best, tried-and-true, and top-quality product in every respect.
Now customers can get their favourite games, even desktop ones, to their pocket. Software developers that make a special stress on mobile application development and porting, e.g. QArea, not only develop mobile games but also port desktop games to mobile phones. Andrew Kudryashov, a technical director of QArea mobile development department described the company activities in the field of content development and expressed the developer team expectations as for the new orders:
‘Whether you are going to create a flexible and easy-to-deploy mobile game or willing to expand the target market of an existing game, our J2ME team in QArea will be happy to provide you with development, porting and testing services. For example, we can offer non-conventional gameplay approach for traditional game categories as Arcade, Fighting, Shooter, Puzzle, Online Casino etc., as well as porting of games to different handsets. Also in our department, we have designers performing high quality 2D and 3D graphics and vivid animation. At that our software engineers successfully develop both client / server games and simple mobile games (single or multiplayer).’
*ARPU – Average Revenue per User
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