“Fixed-mobile convergence is key to mobile user generated content success,” says a visiongain report on ‘Monetising mobile social networking’.
Community-based websites such as MySpace and YouTube, and especially their user-generated content (UGC), are starting to make the transition to mobile; Visiongain believes that mobile operators must embrace this opportunity as a key source of revenue – “through UGC and mobile communities, operators will be able to generate revenue by targeted promotion of tailored content and advertising to the relevant audiences”.
However, visiongain believes that the ‘sweet spot’ for such mobile services will be when they complement existing or newly created fixed line services rather than compete with them. “This convergence will enable users to maintain contact with fixed-line communities in which they engage, rather than restrict usage to operator defined content.”
This is key to encouraging usage of such services on mobile because MySpace users, for example, will want to be able to contact other MySpace users via mobile – and not to find themselves restricted from doing so by the operators.
The report also says UGC and communities will provide a way for operators to generate additional revenue through customer segmentation and advertising. Communities allow operators to monitor user feedback and gain a better understanding of what subscribers want from their content. So, for example, an operator can provide a community that is discussing the latest track by a music artist with links to download the track or video or ringtones.
If mobile video providers are able to resolve a number of quality- and content-related issues – and analyst firm Infonetics Research thinks they are – revenue generated from mobile video services around the world is set to jump from $46.2m in 2005 to $5.6bn in 2009. Infonetics thinks that sports will be key for most mobile video service providers, as exclusive coverage will help drive advertising revenue, subscriber growth, and support for other prime time programming. The number of mobile video handsets sold worldwide is expected to grow from 28m in 2005 to 336m in 2009. 
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