Welcome to the second part of the ringback tones coverage. Today, Seamus McAteer will be visiting here. Seamus is a co-founder, chief product architect and senior analyst at M:Metrics. Seamus has covered the wireless industry since the early 1990s and has earned a reputation as one of the most respected and credible analysts in the industry. He held director and research fellow positions in several corporations analyzing internet and communications technology before founding his own wireless and telecommunications advisory services firm. He is frequently sought by the media for expert commentary on wireless, Internet and related technologies.
If you missed the first part, just follow this link.
Well, let's welcome Seamus:
Hi Seamus. Thank you for visiting Xellular Identity :) How are you?
Great, thanks :)
What are the market size estimates for ringback tones?
M:Metrics tracks use by end-users not revenues. In terms of overall usage we are talking about a service that was being used by about 9 million or so subscribers in the US in April, which is a doubling over the prior year.
How significant contributors to the overall revenue are the ringback tones to be in the future?
If adoption creeps up to about 20% in five years -- which is feasible -- then we are talking about a market with 50 million users spending about $3.50 per month if we account for increased switching and purchase of new songs etc. as people get more used to the service. Then we are talking about a market worth $2.1 billion just in the US. Not bad but still only 1% of all revenue. Ringbacks will be one component of the mobile music market which will include full tracks, music videos, video tones, and master tones. Music is a strategic priority for operators along with video, games, mobile Web, and advertising.
What are the barriers for market growth of ringback tones?
I think that the big barrier for growth in the market is marketing and education. We are getting beyond the early adopter stage where there is really significant social risk associated with use of ringbacks and people are confused when they hear a ringback and hang up. This is particularly the case among subscribers under 35 years of age. To get beyond the early adopter group there needs to be clearer marketing of the service and simplified pricing. The fact that there is no accepted consumer friendly generic name for the category is a real breather of confusion. The term Ringback is actually used as a brand name by Verizon and other operators have shied from using it.
Who are the major players?
Among operators in the US Verizon and T-Mobile, which launched services towards the end of 2004, have a lead in the market with adoption among their base of about 7%. Verizon leads on a market share basis given its substantially larger base of subscribers. Sprint is next in the market in terms of conversion with about 5% of its base.
Thank you Seamus :)
Seamus will be here next Tuesday with more of M:Metrics insights about the American market of ringback tones -- so don't forget tune in!