ASIA IS MMS LEADER
The biggest market for MMS is clearly Asia. As far back as 2008, 48% of Asian mobile phone subscribers were using MMS according to a TNS survey across 29 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The big reasons for MMS rapid adoption and use can trace back to the fact, that there is low PC ownership but very high mobile phone ownership. For the users in Asia MMS is usually their first experience with a multi-media capable service, so receiving news, entertainment, soap opera updates, movie trailers, discount coupons, etc via MMS is a compelling offering.
The revenues of MMS in Asia have already grown past SMS revenues in Asia already, as IDC reported in 2009. A perfect example of how this is used comes from China. Morgan Stanley counted in 2009 that 40 million Chinese consumers were paying for the type of branded twice-daily news headline service either on MMS or SMS, that comes from the main newspapers out of China. As those newspapers have a total circulation of 109 million, MMS/SMS daily paid headline news had already cannibalized 39% of Chinese newspaper audiences.
MMS VS SMS REALITY CHECKYet there is that persistent myth that somehow MMS is a ‘failure’. Just because you do not send pictures from your cameraphone to your friends? Is that why? The problem for MMS is of course SMS. MMS sits in that unprecedented shadow of that giant we know as SMS. Even in 2008, Abi Research reported that only 2.5% of all mobile messaging traffic globally was MMS. SMS text messaging is almost all of the rest. The CTIA just this May said that in the USA a similar proportion exists, where MMS traffic is about 2% of the level of SMS traffic. The MDA has similar stats from the UK.If you want to say that in the USA the total amount of MMS traffic is ‘only’ 2% of SMS traffic, and worldwide at about 2.5% of SMS traffic, that therefore MMS is a failure – I say that is the wrong comparison. SMS text messaging is the world’s most widely used data application, its hardly fair to compare MMS of 8 years of age, to SMS which is 17 years of age. What we can do, is look at MMS in absence of SMS versus other industries, or compare MMS to how SMS did in its first 8 years. Thats a fair measure.
Twelve years after SMS had launched, it passed 1B active users worldwide (Informa 2005). It took SMS text messaging eleven years, to 2004, to pass 30 Billion dollars in annual revenues (Portio 2009). MMS took only 6 years to pass 1 Billion users, and in 8 years passed 30 Billion dollars in annual revenues. If you think SMS text messaging is ‘big’ and a ‘global success’ and that it drives the revenues and profits of the mobile industry – MMS is ahead of SMS in both total global users, and in total global revenues, in the comparable point in time.
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