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Ringback Tones Drive Mobile Premium Content Market, Nearly Tripling to $ 4.7 Billion Market in 2012 Print E-mail
Scottsdale Az, August 18, 2008—  Ringback tones are on track to become the most attractive mobile content category by 2012, according to new market research from MultiMedia Intelligence. With worldwide revenue nearly tripling to $ 4.7 Billion, ringback tones will fall just short of mobile gaming revenue in capturing the largest share of the mobile premium content market (not including mobile video and mobile TV).


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Overall, the global retail market for mobile premium is projected to reach $29 billion by 2012, according to MultiMedia Intelligence. Developed markets, such as Japan and Korea, have seen dramatic growth in premium content, with some operators seeing data revenue exceed 30% of total service revenue. As key Asian markets continue to evolve, growth has shifted to Europe and then the Americas.

"Ringback tones are quickly becoming the 'Golden Child' of the mobile music market, due to a winning combination of consumer popularity, and minimal impact from DRM or piracy," according to Frank Dickson, Chief Research Officer with MultiMedia Intelligence. "The current leading mobile premium content category of realtones is already facing challenges Consumers increasingly are able to create their own ringtones. The price disparity compared to a full track download is also a growing factor. "

MultiMedia Intelligence also learned:


  • Realtone ringtones are gently displacing polyphonic ringtones in all regional markets. Polyphonic ringtones are becoming antiquated as the cell phone evolves in to a fully realized multimedia device.


  • Retail mobile music is nearly a mature market in South Korea, but an expanding market in Japan. By 2012, the mobile music market in Japan, for example, will be over 7 times the size of the mobile music market in South Korea.


  • Streaming mobile music is growing; however, it does not yet have the market scale compared to other mobile music categories. Mobile games and adult content are continuing to grow, but at gradually slowing rates.


The research report, "Dough-Ra-Mi: A Look at Mobile Music, Ringtones, Ringbacks, Games, Graphics & Adult Content,” examines and forecasts key market verticals in the mobile handset market. Forecasts include:

  • Five Year Worldwide Forecasts of Mobile Music, Games, Graphics and Adult Revenues Forecast by Geography


  • Detailed Mobile Music Forecasts by Geography


  • Forecast Segmentation for Mobile Music, including Polyphonic Ringtones, Realtone Ringtones, Ringbacks, Full Track and Streaming Music by Geography


  • Examines the mobile content delivery ecosystem


  • Identifies new applications and next generation mobile content


For more information, visit or contact

Rick Sizemore

(480) 213-4151

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About Multimedia Intelligence

MultiMedia Intelligence, a market research and consultancy firm, specializes on the markets and technologies for delivering and monetizing digital content and services across multiple platforms. We look beyond the classic 'three screens,' which include TVs, mobile handsets, and computers. We put markets into the broader context of the industry ecosystems that are converging and changing traditional business models.