New revenue streams from event-based charging and advertising will help to push the value of the mobile dating and chatroom market to nearly £1 billion by 2013, according to Juniper Research.
The medium is part of a burgeoning user-generated content (UGC) market that will reach $7.3 billion (£5.2bn) by the same time.
The report says that while subscription revenues will continue to contribute the bulk of service revenues over the next five years, an increasing number of dating companies have now switched to offering event-based charging, through products which offer free registration but levy charges when end-users wish to contact one another, or else offer virtual gifts for subscribers to send to other users.
According to report author Dr Windsor Holden, “While the subscription-based approach remains the prevalent business model in this area, services which are free at point of discovery rapidly generate a far higher customer base. Furthermore, many companies which have migrated to this approach are seeing conversion rates amongst customers buying premium rate goods and services which generate revenues significantly in excess of those achieved under flat rate subscriptions.”
The Juniper report also observed that while the initial impetus for dating services was provided off-portal, network operators have become increasingly keen to offer services on-portal as part of their entertainment portfolios: Vodafone offers Dating Direct, while 3 UK has partnered with Flirtomatic.
Other findings from the report include:
• Less than 30% of mobile dating customers will be on flat-rate subscriptions by 2011
• The Far East & China region is currently the largest region in terms of subscriber numbers, primarily due to the success of dating services in Japan
• Advertising will provide the majority of mobile social networking revenues but less than one-third of all UGC revenues by 2013
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