Content Could Save MMS Reputation
By Eric Lin, Tue May 18 23:00:00 GMT 2004

More numbers show that European subscribers are not sending MMS yet. Jupiter Research adds to belief that content, not messages, will drive adoption.

This past month we've seen poor results and waning interest for picture messaging in Japan, the US, and the UK. It's no surprise then that numbers were equally weak across the rest of Europe, according to Jupiter Research. Germans sent the most MMS in Europe for 2003, but that was still only 37 million messages.

When presenting their findings at IBC's Global Messaging Congress, Jupiter Research Analysts Philippe Poutonnet predicted the success of MMS will not be as an evolution of SMS. Instead he predicts that MMS will find its niche as a content delivery medium. Poutonnet announced Jupiter predicts more than half of European subscribers will have MMS capable handsets by 2005. When more than half of all users are MMS capable, MMS content should be an obvious choice. He also concurs with the NOP/Sipac survey which predicts that content, initially riding on the success of sports services (like T-Mobile's Euro 2004 passes) holds more possibilities than peer messaging for MMS.

Using MMS for content seems the obvious use -- for now. Pricing, usability and interoperability are all holding back picture messaging via MMS. Signing up to have multimedia content delivered clarifies pricing, reduces the interface to clicking on a message and all but solves any interop issues. Content delivery can certainly give MMS the boost it needs before it becomes a liability in the eyes of the users and pundits.

Poutonnet says email is more of a threat to SMS than MMS is. However like SMS, MMS offers immediate delivery as well as asynchronous communication, which is why it's prime for content and why it could be a success for messaging as well. If people want to communicate using something other than texts, MMS would be the obvious choice -- even if it costs a bit more -- if only users could get it to work.