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Ad Support Is the Future for Mobile Music

Gaming, primarily supported through subscriptions, brings in most mobile content dollars

Advertising revenues, which already make up the bulk of US mobile music revenues, will gain an even greater share in the coming years, eMarketer forecasts, and by 2016 will account for more than 86% of all such revenues.

This year, the figure is closer to 69%—still a solid majority, and far ahead of the 17.2% of revenues brought in by subscriptions to services like Pandora or the 14.1% of revenues from per-download fees. Mobile music revenues in the US, including revenues generated from downloads or streams direct to mobile devices and excluding multiplatform services or sideloaded music, will total $429.3 million this year. By 2016, they will reach $1.68 billion.

This will still leave music as the smallest source of mobile content revenues, compared with video and games, though its share in 2015 will be 7 percentage points greater than this year. Gaming commands a plurality of revenues, at 43% of the total in 2012 and hovering around that amount through the end of the forecast period, while video revenues will shrink from more than half of revenues in 2010 to less than a third by 2016. This year, revenues from mobile games will reach $1.08 billion, compared with $1 billion from video.

The revenue mix from mobile games has changed little in the past few years, but eMarketer expects download fees to account for a shrinking share of the total beginning in 2013, when in-game revenues will begin to account for a greater share, at 42.8%. In 2016, when mobile gaming revenues will total $3.02 billion, in-game revenues will contribute nearly half that amount, or $1.16 billion, while downloads will account for $1.04 billion.

eMarketer estimates mobile revenues from music, video and games based on the analysis of reported revenues from company releases; estimates from other research firms; mobile content usage trends; and eMarketer interviews with executives at brands, publishers and other industry leaders.

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Check out today’s other articles, “After Dip in Email Performance, Marketers Focus on Data” and “Online Video Captures a Vast Audience in China.”

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