Perceived Data Costs the Issue, Survey Finds

3ple-Media has released the results of its second annual Making Mobile Multimedia Work survey. The survey polled over 1,500 people globally, using a combination of in-house industry databases, online social networking sites, such as Linked In and Plaxo etc, and promotional ads to reach 3ple-Medias audience of predominately mobile industry participants, but also general subscribers.
The survey reveals that the top multimedia issues facing mobile operators are subscriber perceptions of cost, and the relevance of multimedia content services on offer. 78% of subscribers say they see their mobile operator as most like ISPs (Internet Service Providers) in the sense of being trusted with connectivity issues. This represents a 12% increase on last years findings. The growing public perception of the operator evolution towards multimedia service providers is in line with operators own perceptions: 82% of AsiaPac operators and 72% of EMEA operators see themselves as most like ISP Providers.
The emergence of mobile multimedia has clearly made itself felt in the last 12 months, with 45% of all survey participants saying they already receive free, relevant mobile multimedia on their phones. This marks a significant leap up from last years figure of 15% saying the same. Year-on-year, the EMEA region registered the strongest growth, with a 36% increase. The enthusiasm for mobile multimedia is unquestionably strong, but the spectre of global recession has modified the conditions in which the opportunity can thrive. The issue of cost, or more specifically, the perception of cost, is highlighted as one of the central challenges.
58% of subscribers believe that receiving mobile multimedia content will be too expensive a considerable rise on last years figure of 32% thinking the same. 65% of operators agree that the issue of expense is the biggest barrier to subscribers receiving multimedia content. In this case, operators are dealing with two issues. The first is educating the subscriber base as to real, rather than perceived costs. The second is implementing business models and solutions that can protect and grow their ARPU margins in the wake of flat rate data charging. StJohn Deakins, Chief Commercial Officer for 3ple-Media says:
The survey findings this year are indicative of the rapid changes occurring in the industry. The focus for operators is on becoming smart enablers of mobile multimedia services. They can achieve this by providing a better understanding of services, reducing market costs, ensuring relevance, and aligning themselves to a rapid service integration strategy.
The cost conscious mindset amongst subscribers can be seen in their attitude to mobile advertising incentives. 43% of subscribers say they would be most likely to forward mobile advertising if the incentive was free talk-time minutes. Here, the value of the incentive is both quantifiable and useful, and so most desirable. Operators may be undervaluing the incentive, however, as only 35% thought this incentive the most likely to prompt subscribers to forward mobile advertising. 41% of subscribers said they were quite likely to forward mobile ads in exchange for free downloadable music tracks up from the 30% who said the same last year. 55% of operators agree; an increase of 10% on last years findings. The finding suggests that operators need to forge new relationships with other industries, or leverage local user generated content to make offerings like this work. The overall upward trend on these findings suggests subscribers are willing to embrace mobile advertising, so long as incentives are in line with their expectations of what is equally valuable in the trade off.
72% of subscribers agree that multimedia services related to local information will be the most popular type of content in three years time. Last year, only 12% thought this. This gives weight to the notion that personally relevant content on the mobile device is one of the most fundamental concepts to making mobile multimedia work, and awareness of this has resonated trongly with the majority of subscribers in the last year. 70% agree that news-based services will be the most popular a significant rise from the 15% who thought this last year. Music- and sport-based content gained an equal third place in terms of agreement, with 61% – last year they scored 10% and 11% respectively. The substantially higher figures this year suggest subscribers are becoming more aware of the value they place on specific types of content, as experience of real services begins. Results from 12 months ago saw comparatively flat agreement across most content types.
Findings related to behavioural targeting are very encouraging for operators, says 3ple-Media, and show a far more accepting and compliant subscriber base than existed 12 months ago. 37% of subscribers expressed concern, but also acceptance that this was part of the mobile multimedia process, and an implicit means of delivering consistently personal and relevant content, including proactive recommendations. Last year, only 15% of subscribers accepted this to be true.