Younger US Users Ready For Mobile Multimedia
By Carlo Longino, Thu May 26 23:00:00 GMT 2005

More than a third of phone users age 13-34 are interested in mobile music, a new survey says.

Music is the most interesting potential content service, according to a consulting firm's new survey, with 40 percent of the 1,000 mobile users between 13 and 34 that were surveyed saying they're very interested in receiving commercial-free radio over their handsets, with 35 percent interested in downloads to their device. Another 40 percent said they were interested in ad-supported video content, while under 20 percent said they'd pay $4 per month or 30 cents a clip for video content.

There are a few interesting takeaways here: first, mobile music is an area of interest, though that's no surprise to operators and service providers, who are working feverishly to get mobile download services going. Second, there does appear to be interest in mobile video -- but people don't want to pay for it. That means there's an opportunity here for mobile marketers to step in and seize some eyeballs. But respondents' price-consciousness could make one believe they're value conscious as well, and won't accept intrusive or gratuitous advertising. If users don't see mobile video (on a very general level) as being worth $4 per month, how much advertising will they accept to make up for it?

Nearly a quarter of those surveyed also said they'd be likely to switch carriers if their current one didn't offer "advanced, multimedia wireless content and services", meaning such content could become a powerful competitive metric.

So what to make of these numbers when taken alongside earlier figures from the UK showing somewhat disappointing data usage? For one thing, there's the implication that advanced multimedia content will attract a large number of new mobile data users, emphasizing the opportunity for revenue growth in this area.

Of course, it's easy to say that you'd love to have some service on your phone when it's just a survey, but it's another matter when it comes to paying for things. This relatively high level of interest doesn't mean operators can be complacent and lazy in their offerings. How many of these users can be converted into buyers if the failure rate remains as high as the 50 percent cited in the UK study?

Choice of content is one issue, and it would appear that users have an interest in multimedia content.But implmentation is another matter, and one operators will ignore at their peril.