Demand for fee-based mobile content increasing in US

Over the next several years, three major trends will fuel increasing demand for mobile content in the US, according to eMarketer. These trends are: A growing number of mobile internet users; a dramatic increase in the amount of money they spend on data plans; and continued growth in smartphone sales.

eMarketer estimates that 68.6 million users will log on to the mobile web at least once per month in 2009. By 2013, that number will increase to 126.2 million people.

In the short term, publishers will be emboldened to monetise mobile content through subscriptions, a la carte fees and other transactions rather than assume that advertising revenues alone will support their emerging mobile businesses. Having learned tough lessons from monetization experiments on the Web, content owners are determined to approach the mobile arena with a direct-revenue mindset.

A key difference between the online and mobile platforms, however, is that handheld screens are inherently limited by their size, whereas PC displays offer more real estate for creative ad formats. On the mobile front, the lack of opportunities for ad monetization may leave paid models as the only viable alternative, thereby presenting an opportunity for paid-content providers.

“We will see experiments with fee-based content over mobile networks,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the report.

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