So. have finally had a solid night's rest and time to consider the new 2010 edition of the TomiAhonen Almanac that I announced yesterday. I took another read through it and picked random little points of interest. Not the big global numbers, but more the detail stuff. I hope you'll enjoy these.
Lets start with industry size and revenues. Yeah, we know its a Trillion-dollar industry now and mobile data is huge and SMS text messaging is huge, blah-blah-blah. But what of MMS? Not so much that quirky 'picture messaging' that you may think of, MMS is actually a very robust media platform - able to deliver video clips, sounds, pictures and longer text content than plain old SMS. Its used very widely in Asia where PC penetration is far lower than in Europe or North America, and MMS reaches the pockets of 46% of the planet already. 1.7 Billion people already active users, ie pay to use MMS (and note, more people active users of MMS than total number of TV sets on the planet at 1.6 Billion...). So far so good. But lets dig just a bit deeper. How much money is there in MMS? Ah, now we get into the Almanac - yes, MMS globally delivered 29 Billion dollars in annual revenues last year. Then lets take context - the global music industry is worth under 20 Billion dollars! So MMS alone is already bigger than all music generated by the total music recording business worldwide. And you thought MMS was a 'failure' ?
Talking of failures... how about 3G (one of my fave themes as it pretty much helped build my consulting career). We know globally that there are today only about 600 million 3G subscriptions. That may seem like its not doing remarkably well as its only 13% of all mobile subscriptions on the planet. Until we remember that in many of the most populous countries 3G has not launched yet (like in India) or has only launched last year (like in China). What of the markets where 3G has been around for many years now? What of 3G in the Industrialized World? Ah, yes, the TomiAhonen Almanac 2010 edition has a whole chapter on the Digital Divide which does give us this number. Out of all mobile phone accounts in the 'West' or more accurately the Industrialized World (as it includes Japan, Australia, Singapore etc countries that are very much in the East haha) - out of all mobile phones in use, already the number that are both 3G devices and on 3G subscriptions is... wait for it ....49%. Thats just about half! Yes, that is true. Out of 1.1 Billion actual mobile phones in use by the 1.2 Billion people in Europe, USA & Canada, Oceania, and wealthy parts of Asia such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan etc - there are 525 million 3G accounts. Certainly 3G is very much a solid success in the Industrialized World.
So lets talk about people. The customers of mobile. We know the big number is 4.6 Billion subscribers at the end of 2009. And we know that some of us carry two, sometimes even 3 accounts. The Almanac gives that info, its 3.4 Billion total unique mobile phone users. The remaining 1.2 Billion subcriptions are second, third and sometimes even 4th or 5th accounts per person. How many have 2 or more accounts? 1 Billion people ie 29% of all who have a mobile phone. Its not just those busy businesspeople with the Blackberry who privately use an iPhone... But more details - the Almanac has regional breakdowns of the subscriptions, even for the 60 biggest mobile telecoms countries it gives the actual subscriber count both in total subscriptions and unique mobile phone owners. So we see for example that in Eastern Europe more than half of all subscriptions are multiple subscriptions.
The differences in customers becomes very clear when we examine the Digital Divide. In the Industrialized World we have an abundance of technologies. There are more mobile phones than people and there are more FM radios than people. For other major media and tech categories the penetration rate is already over 50% in the Industrialized World, such as we have a TV set for 79% of the total population, a personal computer for 57% and 54% of the population has personal internet access either at home or work for their PC, ie only 4% of the population in the West access the fixed PC based internet from an internet cafe or other shared computer. Meanwhile in the Emerging World there is a personal computer of any kind including the new cheap netbooks, for only 12% of the population, and many do not have regular internet access, only 6% of the population have access to the internet from home or work. No wonder that internet cafe style shared internet access adds nearly half more to that. Also in the Emerging World television sets are that rare that they are shared by about 8 people on average, ie 12% penetration rate. FM radios do better but even those only have 21% penetration rates. But mobile phone accounts? Now exceed half of the population even in the Emerging World markets, at 56%.
Lets talk a bit about the mobile phones themselves. There was a lot of talk about smartphones last year, but still worldwide out of 3.9 billion phones in use, only 505 million are smartphones (and about one in ten of those is a second-hand smartphone such as your old phone used by your teenager kid, or a used smartphone that was shipped to Africa and used there - 12% of all phones used in the Emerging World are used phones, not new phones and in poorest parts of Africa its between a third and half of all phones that are second-hand). So smartphones only form 13% of all phones in use on the planet. I still discuss smartphones to a good degree in the Almanac of course and even added the new Apps Stores section to the Almanac. But lets think about those phones. What of the other 87% of all phones in use - 3.4 Billion phones in fact - that are not smartphones. Is there anything you can do with them?
Yes, actually, quote a lot in fact. First a stunner. Today 95% of all phones in use on the planet have a browser. Only a little over half of those have a 'real web' modern browser, ie xTML browser so the rest are much simpler WAP browsers, but hey, that means you can deliver browser-based services and content to 3.4 billion phones in use on the planet. Thats nearly 3 times as many phones, as the total installed base of personal computers in use. Now, while WAP development is of course more difficult than web development - that should not be 'bad news' for any professional developer, in fact its good news, it means more design challenges and thus abilities to make money. If everybody could do excellent mobile web pages that ran on all phones, everybody would be doing it and nobody would be able to make money on it.. isn't that true?
Then we have MMS, 80% of all phones on the planet are able to handle MMS and we can deliver multimedia content like videos, sounds, pictures and text via MMS. But what of 'downloaded' content and apps? You don't need to have a smartphone to do downloads to a phone. In fact all you need is that the phone support Java or Brew. How many is that? The TomiAhonen Almanac 2010 tells you that 53% of all phones in use support Java/Brew. Hey, thats 4 times the number of smartphones! How many people actually bother to download anything to their phones? That too is in the Almanac, the number grew again last year and is now at 1.5 Billion people. Yes, more people download content and apps to their phones than the total PC based internet user base, including those who access the internet from an internet cafe, worldwide. There is a huge opportunity here... And most of those have memory card slots too (44% of all phones take memory cards). Useful data that is much more relevant than how many billlion apps were loaded on some individual smartphone platform last month, eh?
Then let me end on a few points from the services side. Yes, mobile advertising grew 85% in the year when teh overall economy crashed and all ad budgets were slashed (can you imagine how big mobile advertising will become this year?). But lets dig into some more interesting tidbits, shall we. Lets go to music first. Last year the biggest category of music on mobile were still ringing tones. No more. Now ringback tones have become the biggest form of mobile music, worth 4.1 Billion dollars. That number might not say anything to you, but bear in mind that all of Apple iTunes music sales is worth less than 2 Billion dollars worldwide. Ringback tones are huge for example in China and very popular from Turkey to Russia. And its a form of music consumption that is digital and unique to mobile as the 7th mass media channel. You cannot do ringback tones on radio or the cinema or the internet...Four Billion dollars worth already.. Wow.
A fave category of interest to me is the SMS-interactivity with television. You know, like voting for American idol or the Eurovision song contest etc. Out of all mobile TV, video and related revenues for mobile, SMS-to-TV interactive services deliver nearly half. But more interestingly, that is 5.9 Billion dollars of bonus income for television brands. How much is that? Its about 13% of all television revenues already. As I have reported in my books already before, Finland became the first country where the television industry earns more from SMS-to-TV interactivity than all subscription income or all advertising income... Its the way of the future, other older media making new money via mobile the 7th mass medium. Yes, mobile is the magical money-making machine.
The mobile services industry overall grew revenues 7% last year when the whole global economy shrunk and many giants of the world economy went bankrupt. More interestingly the mobile data opportunity of 'non-messaging' ie VAS (Value-Add Services) mobile data - like mobile music, gaming, news, video, education, health, etc etc etc - services grew revenues from 71 Billion dollars in 2008 to 98 Billion dollars in 2009. Yes, the non-messaing mobile data industry is already bigger than the all content and advertising revenues of the legacy PC based internet; and this mobile data VAS industry is bigger than radio worldwide. Twice as big as videogaming.. And the non-messaing mobile data industry grew 38% last year! In the year when the overall media industries all suffered, print titles from magazines to newspapers lost readers, advertisers and revenues. But in mobile we keep making money money money. Imagine, if this year when the economy comes back, if we only grow at the same rate, then non-messaging related premium mobile data services will be worth over 135 billion dollars. Wouldn't you want to take your slice out of that enormous growth now?
So there selected smaller tidbits from the TomiAhonen Almanac 2010. The pdf style eBook is formated to fit the screen of your smartphone so you can carry all the industry stats in your pocket all the time. See more of the TomiAhonen Almanac 2010 and its ordering info at this page. All stats quoted in this blog story are source: TomiAhonen Almanac 2010 and may be freely quoted and referenced of course.