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Awareness Doesn't Sell Mobile Entertainment

The mobile entertainment market will more than double over the next five years reaching $38.1 billion in 2011, according to Informa Telecoms & Media, publisher of the new report. The emerging market is was responsible for $18.8 billion in revenues worldwide in 2006.

"Although music services such as ringtones, full track downloads and ringback tones will continue to generate the highest proportion of revenues seen in the mobile entertainment industry, mobile TV service revenue are set to sky rocket over the next five years, growing from $178 million to more than $1.8 billion in 2011," says Daniel Winterbottom, senior analyst at Informa and joint author of the report.

"Large sporting events, like the Ashes cricket tour, are seeing more and more people take out subscription packages with their operators that allow them to watch TV services on the move, and this is reflected by the phenomenal growth this segment will see," said Winterbottom.

Music and images dominate the market accounting for 64 percent of revenues in 2006. But while mobile music will continue to grow, the market for wallpapers, avatars and other images will shrink. By 2011, images will have fallen to fourth place, behind mobile games and video.

Ringtones and wallpapers, mainstays of the mobile entertainment, are becoming less important as consumers upgrade to more advanced handsets which support a wide array of entertainment features, from 3D games to broadcast TV to high quality music playback.

Mobile games and mobile video, which together represent only one-quarter of mobile entertainment revenues in 2006, will account for close to half of the mobile entertainment market's growth over five years time.

"Consumers are becoming more 'aware' of what their handsets are capable of, and what services are being offered," says Chris Coffman, senior analyst at Informa and an author of the report. "There's still significant room for improvement, but mobile operators are making it easier for consumers to access entertainment content by introducing search tools and personalized portals."

Frankly, I believe that these predictions of growth are exaggerated, given consumers current attitudes towards entertainment services they describe as limited, inflexible and overpriced. Beyond ringtones, this may be as good as it gets, given the walled garden 'scarcity strategy' that is applied by the typical mobile service provider.

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