Consumer Attitudes toward Mobile Multimedia Shifting, So Too Operator Roles

March 18, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Out-of-Home | Technology | Telecom | Television

Mobile subscribers’ perception of their mobile operators has shifted – 66% said they view them as data connectivity providers, but 20% said they view them as aggregators and providers of multimedia content and services, according to a 3-ple Media survey.

Moreover, another 14% of subscribers agreed that mobile operators are trusted guardians of personal data and information – much like a bank – and as a supplier of personalized mobile multimedia services.

The study surveyed some 1,250 subscribers, mobile operators, brands, media companies and advertising agencies and Web 2.0 developers.

Among the survey findings:

  • The majority of mobile consumers embrace and accept mobile multimedia services: 55% said they are looking forward to receiving mobile multimedia.
  • By 2010, regular multimedia usage among subscribers will be at mass-market penetration levels (31-50%+), according to 58% of operators surveyed.
  • More education is required, as a lack of subscriber multimedia know-how hinders the growth of the addressable market, said 85% of operators in the survey. Other hindrances:
    • Subscriber misperceptions of mobile multimedia costs – according to 84% of operators.
    • Lack of knowledge of available services, or misperceptions of the prohibitive cost of services – according to 59% of subscribers.
    • Estimated infrastructure cost to expand capacity to serve all multimedia subscriber levels – according to 65% of operators.

Below, additional findings from the survey regarding operators’ point of view.

  • Eight of ten operators agreed that becoming a mobile data connectivity provider is either quite likely or highly likely. But, overall, respondents noted that it is still unclear whether they will move beyond simple flat-rate data connectivity to become mobile multimedia service companies.
  • Average revenue per user (ARPU) from traditional services has been in steady decline, but more than half (52%) of operators said they are current revenue leaders in the field. Overall, their forecasts are positive:
    • One in four (26%) operators rated themselves as likely to be the revenue leader by 2010, but 28% said they would be second to content (media) providers.
    • Operators ranked advertisers (24%) and web 2.0 companies (15%) the next likely to be revenue leaders.
  • However, other players (media/content providers, brands and internet companies) rated operators as having the strongest current and future offerings:
    • 58% said so regarding billing and response.
    • 54% said operators are good guardians of customer data.
    • 48% said operators have the strongest customer-service capabilities.

“There’s a debate within many operators: Do they simply become a mobile IP connectivity provider, or also seek to ensure ARPU growth by becoming their subscriber’s mobile multimedia service provider?” said St John Deakins, Chief Commercial Officer for 3ple-Media.

“This survey strongly suggests that despite the technological, educational and commercial hurdles still to be conquered, mobile operators are the clear frontrunners in the race to be at the heart of the new mobile multimedia ecosystem.”

About the survey: The 1,250 participants in the survey were polled (directly and online) from an international group of multimedia players, including subscribers, mobile operators, brands, media companies, ad agencies and Web 2.0 developers.

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