On PCWorld.com Gillian Law asks: “Would Somebody Answer that Thing?” There is a love & hate relationship with rigtones: they are a big business, but they are also very annoying in daily life. It feels like we’re living in a videogame. What I liked in the article is that “as phones improve, so will the sound of the ringtones. Even if you don’t know the song, it’ll at least sound as it does on the radio, rather than like your 4-year-old playing a xylophone.”
The interest for wireless entertainment products is growing in the US, as a press release commenting the Global Wireless Summit in LA explains. The predominant opinion of panelists was that 2004 will see doubling if not tripling of mobile content revenues, and that ringtones may eclipse singles sales for the music industry.
In the UK Virgin Mobile has launched an online campaign which allows users to pick their favourite ringtone directly from the ad. They can listen to the ringtone and then text a number to receive it, without visiting a Web site.
The ringtones business is still in its infancy in the US, but the interest of carriers and content providers in getting a piece of the pie, is already high. The problem is that the business model hasn’t been defined yet and there’s confusion in the players’ role in the game. On Reuters (via Yahoo! News) Scott Banarjee analyses the current state of the art of the US ringtones market. Up ’til now in only 5 percent of US cell phone users have downloaded a ringtone but, according to the Yankee Group, the business is expected to grow to $1 billion dollars by 2008.
The Mobile Entertainment Forum has announced that next March it will launch in the UK the first official ringtone chart which will be compiled by KPMG. Mobile music is becoming more and more important and the ringtone chart is surely a strong sign of an industry gaining independence and relevance. There’s a massive public interested in ringtones, presenting new revenue opportunities in mobile entertainment. In the press release that explains the initiative, it’s interesting to read the opinion of KPMG�s Calum Chace who says:“The Ringtones Chart will provide a benchmark for the industry as consumers deepen their love affair with mobile ringtones. As this chart evolves, it will track the convergence of fashion, fads and phones and it will highlight the commercial opportunity for the mobile music industry as more music is consumed in the form of ringtones.”
According to the Mobile Data Association (MDA), in November more than 947m Wap pages were hit in the UK. As BBC NEWS reports, many people users went online to download polyphonic ringtone versions of music hits.
Customize Your Jingle Bells, says Verizon Wireless in a press release announcing that it will allow American mobile users to download their favourite holiday tunes. “Get It Now” is the name of the virtual store with ring tones, games and other applications available to buy.
A new fashion is coming to Europe: the ringback tone. The service, that has been very popular in South Korea, could be available by mid-2004. As Bbc News reports, the service lets you choose what the person calling you hears when phoning. A new interesting business is born…
Someone says marketers are lacking creativity. Well, after reading today’s news on CNETAsia I have to dissent. A brilliant (?!) marketer at SK Telecom, a Korean cell phone service provider, has invented a mosquito repelling tone. For 3,000 won (US$2.50), users can download a sound file which is inaudible to the human ear but helps ward off mosquitoes within a one-meter radius, the firm said. Well, I don’t know if it works for mosquitos, but I’m sure this announcement creates a “buzz”
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