Southeast Asia accounts for nearly a third of the global revenue generated by the mobile entertainment industry which is worth some US$32 billion, despite the economic downturn.
The mobile media industry produces the variety of content, including games, music, video, and mobile phone ring tones, all accessed by mobile devices.
The Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), the global trade association for the industry, forecasts average revenue growth of 28 per cent for the coming year. They say social networking looks set to be the biggest area for growth, followed by games and video, music and 'infotainment'.
In the KPMG Consumers and Convergence Report (the mobile aspects were authored by MEF) published earlier this year, a survey of 4,500 consumers in 19 countries showed that 30 per cent of consumers have purchased full track music downloads in the last year, a 40 per cent growth since 2007.
The MEF said two thirds of consumers were satisfied with their experience of using mobile entertainment services.
Southeast Asia tour
The MEF is currently touring (7--18 September 2009) Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and India to foster collaboration between regulators and members and to stimulate the mobile media industry's continual growth and vibrancy.
MEF policy and initiatives director, Suhail Bhat, said consumers are happy to make micro-payments for content, despite the availability of free multi-media content on the Internet.
"We published five reports last year on ad-funded mobile content for the UK, the US, France, India and Southeast Asia," Bhat said. "All showed that the provision of free content actually helped the overall sales of mobile content--in some cases by up to five per cent.
"In Asia, ringback tones still account for a significant proportion of mobile content revenues and so far, we see no sign of that dropping off."
India and Indonesia lead
Bhat said India and Indonesia are two of the fastest-growing mobile media markets in the world, with 500 million subscriptions between them, growing at 10 million per month.
"Singapore and Malaysia are defining the commercial and creative shape of 3G - mobile broadband consumption," said Bhat.
"Underpinning this growth and the future success of the mobile entertainment industry as a whole is the essential consumer trust in mobile media services. MEF is at the forefront of liaising with industry and regulators alike in many different territories globally and want to spearhead similar successes in Asia.
"Brands, advertising agencies, content owners should all look to the mobile device to increase revenues and the distribution of content."
MEF's goal, as part of the regulatory tour, is to nurture the collaboration between the regulators and the mobile industry.
"We all want the same outcomes: for consumers to be able to make informed decisions about which services they wish to take part in by having all relevant information, for the industry to provide those services and continue to innovate and for the regulators who want to protect consumers from sharp practices and yet at the same time, ensure regulatory environment that does not hinder or stifle innovation," Bhat said.