A global market study conducted for Nokia shows that mobile content services hold promising revenue potential, with study respondents willing to pay for such services 28% more than they pay for their current services today. The study, undertaken by the international research firm NOP World in nine countries in North America, Europe and Asia, sought to answer what kind of mobile content people prefer, how they would like it delivered (download, streaming or browsing), and how much they would pay for it. The main body of the study is based on interviews with people who are mobile phone users and have access to the Internet.
The main findings of the study indicate consumers have a preference for entertainment content and information that is considered useful whilst "out and about". Overall, enhanced content services seem to generate high interest and when fully available could even lead consumers to reduce their usage of newspapers, TV and the Internet.
The survey also found that while consumers would spend significantly more for new mobile content services, service providers will need to do more to explain the options available and differentiate services to serve all age groups.
In particular, younger consumers are willing to pay an extra 10 monthly, an amount that decreases significantly with the age of the respondents. In contrast to age, sex is less important. Between men and women, the survey found, there are no large differences in the willingness to spend more for mobile services.
The same is true when it comes to overall interest in mobile content service. The survey indicates that men and women are equally interested in mobile content - except sport content, where 52% of men are interested compared to 29% for women. Again, younger respondents to the survey were significantly keener than were older groups.
In general, the preferred delivery method seems to be browsing, rather than downloading or streaming, but this depends on the content being accessed. Downloading is of value for gaming and music while streaming and browsing are seen as best suited where information is updated frequently. When accessing local news, there is a high preference for streaming or downloading. Perhaps surprisingly, delivery mechanisms do not drive the amount of money consumers are willing to pay - the content type itself is the driver.
Current mobile content usage is dominated by downloading ringtones (used by 40% of the respondents), followed by icons/screen-savers (22%). However, current mobile content services are perceived as being too expensive. For example, 48% of those respondents who have never used any content service rank cheaper services as the prime factor that would entice them to use content services.
The study also shows how technical and attitudinal issues will be barriers unless properly addressed by improved service design, marketing and support. These issues vary by age group. For example, older consumers need greater education and hand-holding, while younger users have different expectations about ease due to their greater experience using the Internet.
"This is one of the most comprehensive studies into what consumers really want from content on the move", says Janne Laiho, Head of End User Research, Nokia. "Age being a determining factor isn't surprising for a new service, but this survey does reveal a quite sharp divide between the young and the not so young. This could be an issue for operators in mature markets where the population is aging and is more affluent than younger segments. Significantly our research shows that quite straightforward changes will overcome current barriers, and that mobile content is set to offer a serious challenge to other media even among older age groups".