MEM06: mobile entertainment MEM06

What's happening in the Mobile Entertainment world? At MEM06 in London we wandered around in search of any new truths that might have floated to the surface. There were games people there, music people, movie people, map people, backend people and quite a few bowls of candy.

TV and movies are the latest hot item but no-one really knows if anyone is going to watch these things on tiny screens. Games and music have been quite successful even as some industry insiders have been criticising the somewhat doltish games that have been made available so far ... although there are some good ones as well. The biggest games publisher at MEM06 was Vivendi and they had a large portfolio of offerings. The trick here is to have the muscle to make sure your stuff gets good portal positions. If it doesn't you're toast.

There were gambling game specialists as well. We still can't see why people would chance their money on such unregulated casinos, and amidst negative press stories of new gambling addicts, we wonder if regulation isn't that far away for EU jurisdictions.

Apparently the most M and A and VC activity in the first quarter of this year was in the mobile gaming area so it'll be interesting to see what's further down the road.

Talking of which, Nokia's smartphone-wide N-Gage platform hasn't had too much more said about it. Nokia was there but just in a general flying-the-flag sense and didn't appear to be pushing anything in particular.

In the publishing line of things, Austria-based opened up a portal where anyone can put their ringtones, wallpaper etc., for sale. Quite a nice idea at one level but the financial side didn't look all that great... for the producers.

In quite a few ways, the background to the show was a fair bit more interesting than the show itself. Telcos will continue to worry about customers bypassing them and shopping on the net for (much cheaper) music, and just about anything else. This fact is coupled with recent surveys that show that mobile content services have quite a low approval rating from customers. No more than 15% of one network's customers are repeaters. Pretty clear message there, we'd say. Clearly the a-sucker-is-born-everyday school of pricing, marketing, and content discovery isn't such a winner after all.

We ended last year by wondering about VOIP on handsets. This is still pretty much sci-fi except for the Nokia 770 internet tablet thingy, which recently had a software upgrade which added a VOIP client and drivers for the mic that was already there. Wi-fi will need to be a lot more ubiquitous for it all to happen in a big way but there are places right now where it could be practical.

and here's the official after the show take ...

Mobile music, TV and games to drive mobile entertainment market boom

• Music, games and TV & video music will be worth US$25.9
• billion by 2011 Mobile TV to generate US$300 million in the
• build-up and during this summer’s World Cup

London, 24 June 2006 Mobile games, music and TV & video will be worth a total of US$25.9 billion by 2011, according to forecasts from Informa Telecoms & Media released at today’s Mobile Entertainment Market (MEM) 2006 conference & exhibition at the Business Design centre, London.

The growth in mobile content services will be driven by music in 2006, which will be worth US$7.4 billion rising to US$13.6 billion by 2011. Games continues to grow despite fears the market was stagnating and is expected to generate US$2.4 billion this year, and rising to US$7.2 billion in 2011.

Mobile TV will make its mass-market entrance in conjunction with this year’s soccer World Cup in Germany next month. Informa forecasts mobile TV & video contributing US$1.2 billion to total global mobile entertainment revenues this year, with US$300 million mobile TV & video revenues generated from the World Cup alone.

"Our forecasts reveal sustained growth of mobile music and games and that the mobile entertainment market is in good health and expanding," says Nick Lane, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media. "Mobile music is driving the uptake of content revenues in 2006, and will continue to do so for several years."

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