Juniper to the Rescue...

We can depend on the researchers from Juniper after all (or maybe they simply felt bad after reading my post on their last report). Whichever the reason, apparently the mobile content industry could be worth a hefty $167bn (!) if - yes, if - the operators would resolve to allowing a workable commercial environment, namely by limiting themselves to lower revenue shares. Whatever the caveats (which are, as usual, hidden in the expensive main report) this number is topping even the loftiest predictions to date; right on in times of the doom and gloom. The key apparently lies in whether operators would act as dumb pipes (no richness for anyone) or a smart pipe (lots of play money for all players on the value chain). In their own words:

"If MNOs are to benefit financially, they need to move away from their Dumb Pipe roots to the Smart Pipe model, though they will clash with the content providers which already dominate the Smart Pipe. A compromise needs to be found."
A smart pipe is understood as one where operators would offer flexible, application-centric value configurations, allowing lean, efficient content offerings from third parties. A dumb pipe is one where content (and value) would merely rush through the pipe without any value being added by the operator. The prevailing model in the mobile games world, namely the on-portal approach where operators implement comprehensive vertically-integrated models ("walled gardens") is suggested to be somewhat doomed as content providers would gain bargaining power (presumably through consolidation of the supply side plus entry of meatier traditional media players in music, video and TV).

This is all pretty speculative though, and without some background it is quite frankly impossible to analyse the numbers some more. Mobile content appears to include (as per their report from March) games, music, video, TV, social networking, adult content, gambling and so on, and so forth. However, the exact calculatory basis is again hidden in the depths of the report, so I don't know (do they e.g. take the gross gambling revenue or on;y the rake, which is only a few percentage points of the former). Anyhow, due to these foggy conditions, commentators seem to either merely re-print the PR blurb or mock it (Stuart Dredge thinks that "only gas could do that kind of money"), which is a shame really; just think what you could with this much money...


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