Ring Tones

By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2004-10-26 Print this article Print

As evidence of the growing U.S. interest in mobile entertainment, CTIA president Steve Largent reported that the U.S. mobile market currently generates $300 million in revenue out of a global market of $3.1 billion. The sale of ring tones and games generates $146 million in revenue in the United States. Ring tones are becoming such a revenue generator and market mover that Billboard will start to publish the top 20 ring-tone sales by the end of this month. Click here to read about adding touch to ring tones.
The interest in advanced wireless video and audio applications is also apparent on the CTIA show floor. This year, there seems to be a lot more emphasis on streaming video and live video broadcasts, said Nimish Shrivastava, president and chief technology officer at Embience Inc., a San Diego-based developer of wireless application software.
A demonstration of a CNBC television broadcast on a wireless handset "was quite impressive," Shrivastava said. He noted that some of the wireless service providers demonstrated the MobiTV wireless television service on their handsets. It remains to be seen how quickly these applications will be readily available to consumers, he said. The adoption of video services and feature-rich video will depend on the steady expansion of bandwidth to support these broadcasts, he said. But his main interest is in the market for wireless application software. For Embience, the steady increase in wireless equipments technical capabilities provides new opportunities for development applications for platforms his company supports, he said, including BREW, Symbian and J2ME. What are vendors touting at the CTIA Wireless show? Click here to read more. Elena Sofko, licensing sales director at Stamford, Conn.-based A&E Television Networks, came to CTIA to see how wireless technology is evolving to support broadcasting of network content. "Its exciting to see all the new stuff coming down the pike," she said. A&E owns a number of familiar cable channel brands, including the History Channel, the Arts & Entertainment channel and the Biography channel. Content producers are already making money from distributing "ring tones, ring backs, wallpaper and games, and my company is into all of those businesses," she said. The wireless market offers potential opportunities for cable channels to distribute content that complements but doesnt cannibalize its cable content, she said. It might be a mini-biography, a promotional spot for a new show or a schedule reminder, she said. In some ways, the strong investment in wireless technology and content resembles the Internet boom, Sofko said. "But they are being smarter about it in terms of building business cases" that confirm there are real markets for the latest services, she said. In certain respects, the wireless industry has been "conspicuously silent" about future directions so it wont get too far ahead of itself in promising new features or services before consumers are ready to accept them, Sofko said. Check out eWEEK.coms Mobile & Wireless Center at http://wireless.eweek.com for the latest news, reviews and analysis.

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John Pallatto John Pallatto is eWEEK.com's Managing Editor News/West Coast. He directs eWEEK's news coverage in Silicon Valley and throughout the West Coast region. He has more than 35 years of experience as a professional journalist, which began as a report with the Hartford Courant daily newspaper in Connecticut. He was also a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.

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