Survey Highlights Mobile Content Issues

Valista, which provides digital commerce software and managed services, has released the results of a survey conducted at the Building Blocks 2008 conference held last week in San Jose, California. Over 86% of the industry insiders interviewed believe that it should take less than a month to launch new mobile content and services with an operator. This expectation is far from reality, however, as 80% of respondents stated that it actually takes three to nine months to introduce new mobile content and services.
The Valista survey also found that the mobile industry is not taking advantage of customer loyalty programs as a way to encourage consumers to buy more downloaded content. Surprisingly, none of the respondents said that they use any form of loyalty scheme as an incentive to increase content purchasing or encourage repeat buyers. Over 70% of those surveyed, however, use other promotional methods to entice customers to buy more content and services, including discounts, free trials and product bundling. The survey confirmed an increasing preference for putting charges on the mobile bill. Over three quarters of respondents believe that mobile customers today pay for content and services through their monthly bill, with 9% believing credit and debit cards are still widely used. Only 7% of those surveyed believe that Premium SMS is still the primary mode of payment for mobile content purchases.
Conversely, over 78% of respondents said that broadband customers today still use credit/debit cards and Paypal to pay for digital content and services. This figure shows that the market is still largely dependent on the use of credit/debit cards for broadband content and service purchases, with less than a quarter of respondents believing the monthly bill and ad-support are other methods used to acquire content and services in the broadband channel.
Regarding which channel will experience the highest growth for content purchases in the next two years, respondents were split almost evenly with 51% believing in the broadband/cable channel and 48% predicting mobile.
The survey also asked industry insiders for their views on payments via Near Field Communications (NFC). Those polled remain sceptical about NFC becoming a reality, with more than half of the respondents stating that it will take over five years for contactless mobile payments to be widely used. This is consistent with a recent report by Juniper Research, which said that NFC mobile wallet devices will remain limited in the next couple of years except in the Far East, particularly in Japan where the technology is already widely used. The Juniper Research report predicts that by 2013, one in five phones will have NFC. 
Its clear that the mobile industry is looking for more streamlined ways to manage content and services, says Valista CTO, Fran Heeran. It can typically take months to introduce new mobile content and services across all the carriers. This clearly needs to change, as content and services lose relevancy with each passing month and some content is never considered because of the production time. Mobile service and content providers need to be able to react to the market quickly and provision new mobile content and services in a more dynamic fashion.

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