Mobile sports content & services to reach $3.8bn by 2011

MUMBAI : Mobile sports information and entertainment services are expected to take an increasing share of the global mobile sports, leisure and information content (infotainment) market over the next five years.

According to Juniper Research the global market for mobile sports content and services will grow from just over $1 billion in 2006 to $3.8 billion in 2011 at an average annual growth rate of 27 per cent. This is out of a total sports, leisure and information content market worth just under $4.2 billion in 2006 and growing to $9.5 billion in 2011. Over the whole period 2006 to 2011 mobile sport, leisure and information content and services is expected to generate a cumulative revenue stream of over $42 billion. 40 per cent of this is expected to come from the European market, 33 per cent from Asia Pacific and 18 per cent from a rapidly growing North American marke.

The key market drivers will be:
*the increasing availability of 3G services and support for high quality video;
*the globalisation of sport personalities and club support;
*improved flow of digital sports rights for mobile distribution.

Bruce Gibson, research director at Juniper Research said, "These drivers apply to many types of leisure and information content, but none more so than sports content. There is a great opportunity for content owners, application service providers and operators to exploit sport content over the mobile channel in innovative ways, now that the technology barriers are diminishing". However he goes on to issue a warning - "This will only happen if everyone in the value chain pays attention to detail. End user experience in some markets of mobile sports content services built around the 2006 Fifa World Cup, has not been consistently good. Many new users of sports services have been disappointed with the quality of the deliverable and may never buy again. First impressions count for a lot and particularly with time sensitive content like goal alerts and replays, the first experience has to be good to generate repeat business."

Sports, leisure and information is a vast area and comprises many different types of content and mobile service, from celebrity wallpapers, mobile comics and video "mobisodes" to financial information services, child tracking and personal navigation services. Those applications and services that will show fastest growth over the next few years will be those that develop the most added value from advanced network technologies and those that can move from "presenting facts" to "providing entertainment". Community applications with a high amount of graphic user generated content will be particularly successful as they have the added advantage of low cost content acquisition, the report says.

Mobile TV might not be quite there as yet but now looks poised to take off - after many false starts - in the same way broadband internet was roughly five years ago.

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