March 19, 2008 05:41 ET

Made-for-Mobile Social Networking Application 'BING' Flourishes in all 11 Operating Countries

Buongiorno confirms a EUR 10m Investment in 2008 to Capture the Mobile Social Networking Trend To date BING scores over 20 million messages exchanged per week, (quadruple late 2007 figures) and over 1.2 million logins

MILAN, ITALY--(Marketwire - March 19, 2008) - Buongiorno (STAR, Italian Stock Exchange:BNG), the world's leading company in mobile entertainment, today announces figures concerning the recent performance of its mobile social networking solution, BING.

Since its successful market testing, launched in June 2007 in South Africa and Austria, Buongiorno has rolled out BING to a larger global market in 2008, including the 9 new geographies of the UK, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and Vietnam. The astonishing reach into 11 countries has been achieved by Buongiorno's impressive connection to the mobile population in 53 countries. To date BING scores over 20 million messages exchanged per week, (quadruple late 2007 figures) and over 1.2million logins.

The BING application provides the best aspects of both SMS and Instant Messenger blended into an innovative, open Java software service that allows for real mobile2mobile chat for friends which is entirely free of charge. A key benefit to the service is that it can operate irrespective of mobile operator and handset model anywhere in the world. Also, unlike traditional SMS, BING allows users to communicate with as many friends as they like at the same time. The application has a core target group of 16-18 year olds, however it is resonating with a broader demographic of young urban people, for whom social networking while on the move is very important.

Buongiorno also confirms it will be investing EUR 10m in designing a new product- an upgrade of BING that will allow the company to further capture the mobile social networking trend. Social networking is expected to attract advertising amounting to over $2.1 billion by 2008, representing a staggering increase of 75% since 2007(1), in a market where consolidation is already taking place(2). In addition, within two years, at least 5% of all text messages sent through wireless networks are expected to relate to social network interaction (source: Gartner).

Fernando Gonzalez Mesones, Head of Global Marketing, Product & Supply of Buongiorno commented, "As the global market leader in mobile entertainment, it is important for Buongiorno to capture value generating developments in the industry, and the enormous popularity of social networking obviously represents a huge opportunity for us. It is our goal to become one of the most recognized global brands in mobile social networking.

Lucia Predolin, head of Marketing Communication & IR further comments, "As our latest Cellsurfing research (www.cellsurfing.com) indicates, the social networking phenomenon is far from limited to the PC: in fact mobile handsets outnumber PCs twice over, and have three times the presence that a PC has in terms of user-time. It is obvious that social networking has the potential to bridge the desktop/laptop to the cellphone. When it comes to social networking, people are out there, living their lives, not sitting in front of the computer. This is demonstrable through an average of 4% of the mobile population, in Europe's top 5 countries and the U.S, participating in social networking on their mobile (source: MMetrics)."

(1) Analyst eMarketer predicts that by 2011, $4.1 billion will be spent worldwide for social network advertising - a dramatic increase from the $480 million spent in 2006. (Source: eMarketer, Social Network Marketing: Ad Spending and Usage, December 2007).

(2) AOL acquired BEBO for 850m US$; News Corp paid USD580m for MySpace in 2005, while Facebook was valued at USD15bn last Oct, when Microsoft paid USD240m for a 1.6% share in the company.

Contact Information