Recession to slow mobile entertainment growth

By the time these kids grow up, we'll be spending on mobile games again
By the time these kids grow up, we'll be spending on mobile games again

It's not just banks and retailers suffering in the economic downturn - spare a thought for mobile phone operators and developers, too.

A new report from Juniper Research warns that, while its most optimistic forecasts have the mobile entertainment market reaching nearly £25bn in 2010, growth will be much lower if the recession fails to bottom-out over the year ahead.

The report found that average annual growth over the next two years declines from nearly 19 per cent under the best case scenario to less than 7 per cent in the worst case, with mobile TV, user-generated content and music slowly down particularly fast.

Cash poor environment

The main causes of the slowdown would be people having less money to spend on luxuries, although the report also noted that other factors – such as a lack of funding to finance the development of new applications, and faster migration to ad-funded services – would also slow growth.

Report author Dr Windsor Holden said, "Some entertainment services appear to be highly susceptible to the downturn. Furthermore, given that operators will perceive that consumers will be increasingly reluctant – or unable – to purchase content, they may in turn be less likely to roll out expensive, higher risk services: a dedicated mobile broadcast TV network is a prime example".

Juniper experts don't think all sector will be equally effected - mobile gambling, for instance, could see a boost, as could that old favourite 'adult services'.

You can't ring my bell

Whatever happens to the economy, Juniper expects mobile music to remain the biggest earner, despite slackening sales of ringtones.

Juniper also warns that 'excessive data charges' threaten to derail any growth that does happen. No surprises there...

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.