The ringtone, once a novel revenue source, has now produced billions for the music industry.
But the format is also starting to flatten, and recent research forecasts declines over the coming years. In a freshly-released report, iSuppli called for single-digit gains over the next few years, and a pronounced drop by 2011. The company estimated US-based ringtone revenues of $700 million in 2006, a 10 percent increase over 2005 figures. That represents a softening over earlier gains of 34 percent in 2004, according to the report.
The finding complements earlier data and executive comments detailing the flattening trend. In the finding, iSuppli also pointed to market maturations in Asia and Europe, despite more advanced and spendthrift mobile audiences. Interestingly, the development is occurring alongside a continued progression in newer formats, most notably the advent of more realistic master ringtones. But ringtones represent just one sliver in a far broader mobile multimedia market, a sector that may simply outgrow the more simplistic jingle. Despite ringtone declines, iSuppli noted that global premium mobile content revenues will push past $44 billion by 2008, more than double current levels of $20 billion.
Story by news analyst Alexandra Osorio.