SOURCE: M:Metrics

January 10, 2007 05:00 ET

Ringing(Back) Into the New Year

As Interest in Ringtones Wanes in Europe, Ringbacks Are a Positive Note for the Mobile Music Industry

SEATTLE, WA and LONDON -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 10, 2007 -- 2006 opened with the ringtone industry coming out of temporary insanity brought about by Crazy Frog, and ended with a whimper. According to M:Metrics, the mobile market authority, while ringtone purchasing declined in Europe and leveled out in the U.S. market, a new star was rising: the ringback tone.

The mobile measurement firm found that ringbacks have grown most aggressively in the United States, at a rate of 225 percent from the quarter ended January to the quarter ended November. Ringback subscriptions grew across Europe, at a rate of 150 percent in Germany and 146 percent in the U.K. during the same period. Between July and November, ringbacks grew 12.8 percent in France and 11 percent in Spain.

Mobile Subscribers that Purchased Ringtone in Past Month 2006
(Three Month Average Ended in Month)

Country           JAN     FEB     MAR     APR     MAY     JUN
United States    10.0%   10.0%    9.9%    9.7%    9.9%   10.0%
United Kingdom    6.8%    6.5%    6.3%    6.4%    6.0%    5.7%
Germany           7.3%    7.5%    7.2%    6.9%    6.8%    6.5%
France                                    6.8%    6.5%    6.0%
Spain                                                     8.0%
Italy

Country           JUL     AUG    SEP     OCT     NOV
United States    10.4%   10.4%   9.5%    9.0%    8.9%
United Kingdom    5.4%    5.6%   5.5%    5.3%    5.1%
Germany           6.6%    6.4%   5.9%    5.3%    4.7%
France            6.2%    6.0%   5.9%    5.5%    5.4%
Spain             8.9%    9.1%   9.1%    8.7%    8.4%
Italy                     6.3%   5.9%    5.9%    6.0%

Source: M:Metrics, Inc., Copyright © 2007. Survey of mobile subscribers.
Data based on three-month moving average for period ending 30 November,
2006, n= 12,567 French, 14,612 German, 12,241 Italian, 12,288 Spanish,
14,907 UK and  33,736 US.


Mobile Subscribers With Ringback Subscriptions in Previous Month 2006
(Three Month Average Ended in Month)*

Country          JAN     FEB     MAR     APR     MAY     JUN
United States    1.3%    1.5%    1.7%    1.9%    2.4%    3.0%
United Kingdom   0.4%    0.5%    0.7%    0.7%    0.8%    0.8%
Germany          0.7%    0.9%    1.1%    1.3%    1.3%    1.2%
France                                   2.3%    2.2%    2.1%
Spain

Country          JUL     AUG     SEP     OCT     NOV
United States    3.7%    3.8%    4.0%    3.9%    3.8%
United Kingdom   0.7%    0.6%    0.6%    0.7%    0.8%
Germany          1.3%    1.3%    1.4%    1.2%    1.6%
France           2.3%    2.3%    2.4%    2.5%    2.5%
Spain            9.7%    9.9%   10.5%   10.0%   10.4%

Source: M:Metrics, Inc., Copyright © 2007. Survey of mobile subscribers.
Data based on three-month moving average for period ending 30 November,
2006, n= 12,567 French, 14,612 German, 12,288 Spanish, 14,907 UK and
33,736 US. *Excludes 3 subscribers.
"The rise in ringbacks indicates that personalization remains an important motivation for mobile content purchases," said Jen Wu, entertainment analyst at M:Metrics. "While we see a decrease in ringtone purchases, we do see an increase in user-created ringtones. Since it's impossible to hack a ringback tone, this growing market is not threatened by piracy and end-user savvy."

In fact, the firm found that the number of users who say they made their own ringtone grew from 11.3 percent in May to 12.3 in November in Germany, from 10.2 to 12.6 percent in France, from 17.1 percent to 19.1 percent in the UK and from 5.1 percent in to 6.6 percent in the U.S., during the same period. In Spain, 9.3 percent of mobile subscribers created their own ringtone in June, more than doubling to 19.7 percent in November. Italian subscribers account for the largest percentage of ringtone creators. In August, 19.2 percent created their own ringtone, growing to 20.4 percent in November.

As the world's authoritative mobile market measurement firm, M:Metrics delivers the most accurate mobile market metrics through the largest monthly survey of mobile subscribers as well as automated data collection methodologies, including the first commercially available mobile device meter. Below are the findings of its November Benchmark Survey.

French Mobile Subscriber Monthly Consumption of Content and Applications
M:Metrics Benchmark Survey: November 2006

Activity                      Subscribers (1000s)   Percent    % Change
Sent Text Message                    30,651          70.5%        0.5%
Used Photo Messaging                  9,013          20.7%       -0.2%
Browsed News and Information          3,566           8.2%       -4.3%
Used Personal E-Mail                  2,731           6.3%        2.7%
Purchased Ringtone                    2,346           5.4%       -1.6%
Used Mobile Instant Messenger         1,364           3.1%        0.9%
Purchased Wallpaper or Screensaver    1,007           2.3%       -6.7%
Used Work E-Mail                        955           2.2%        6.4%
Downloaded Mobile Game                  577           1.3%        8.0%

Source: M:Metrics, Inc., Copyright © 2007. Survey of French mobile
subscribers. Data based on three-month moving average for period ending
30 November, 2006, n= 12,567


German Mobile Subscriber Monthly Consumption of Content and Applications
M:Metrics Benchmark Survey: November 2006

Activity                      Subscribers (1000s)   Percent    % Change
Sent Text Message                    36,522          80.3%        0.2%
Used Photo Messaging                  9,355          20.6%       -1.3%
Used Personal E-Mail                  2,769           6.1%        4.3%
Purchased Ringtone                    2,138           4.7%      -10.2%
Browsed News and Information          1,526           3.4%       -1.1%
Used Mobile Instant Messenger         1,374           3.0%       10.2%
Used Work E-Mail                      1,268           2.8%        9.5%
Downloaded Mobile Game                1,177           2.6%        1.0%
Purchased Wallpaper or Screensaver      921           2.0%       -6.3%

Source: M:Metrics, Inc., Copyright © 2006. Survey of German mobile
subscribers. Data based on three-month moving average for period ending
30 November, 2007, n= 14,612


Italian Mobile Subscriber Monthly Consumption of Content and Applications
M:Metrics Benchmark Survey: November 2006

Activity                      Subscribers (1000s)   Percent    % Change
Sent Text Message                    36,957          85.0%        3.3%
Used Photo Messaging                 13,322          30.6%       -0.3%
Used Personal E-Mail                  3,998           9.2%        3.0%
Browsed News and Information          3,074           7.1%        7.4%
Purchased Ringtone                    2,596           6.0%        4.7%
Used Mobile Instant Messenger         2,560           5.9%        7.1%
Used Work E-Mail                      2,011           4.6%        3.4%
Downloaded Mobile Game                1,662           3.8%        8.4%
Purchased Wallpaper or Screensaver    1,305           3.0%       10.2%

Source: M:Metrics, Inc., Copyright © 2007. Survey of Italian mobile
subscribers. Data based on three-month moving average for period ending
30 November, 2006, n= 12,241


Spanish Mobile Subscriber Monthly Consumption of Content and Applications
M:Metrics Benchmark Survey: November 2006

Activity                      Subscribers (1000s)   Percent    % Change
Sent Text Message                    26,174          84.4%        1.5%
Used Photo Messaging                  8,771          28.3%       -2.6%
Used Personal E-Mail                  2,910           9.4%       -3.4%
Purchased Ringtone                    2,598           8.4%       -2.5%
Used Mobile Instant Messenger         2,286           7.4%       -1.8%
Browsed News and Information          2,136           6.9%       -3.4%
Used Work E-Mail                      1,733           5.6%        2.6%
Downloaded Mobile Game                1,598           5.2%        3.8%
Purchased Wallpaper or Screensaver    1,028           3.3%       -0.5%

Source: M:Metrics, Inc., Copyright © 2007. Survey of Spanish mobile
subscribers. Data based on three-month moving average for period ending
30 November, 2006, n= 12,288


U.K. Mobile Subscriber Monthly Consumption of Content and Applications
M:Metrics Benchmark Survey: November 2006

Activity                      Subscribers (1000s)   Percent    % Change
Sent Text Message                    37,956          86.3%        1.3%
Used Photo Messaging                 13,204          30.0%       -1.1%
Browsed News and Information          6,339          14.4%        2.0%
Used Personal E-Mail                  3,071           7.0%        9.4%
Purchased Ringtone                    2,248           5.1%       -3.1%
Downloaded Mobile Game                2,061           4.7%        5.6%
Used Mobile Instant Messenger         1,843           4.2%        6.8%
Used Work E-Mail                      1,635           3.7%       10.4%
Purchased Wallpaper or Screensaver      926           2.1%       -3.1%

Source: M:Metrics, Inc., Copyright © 2007. Survey of U.K. mobile
subscribers. Data based on three-month moving average for period ending
30 November, 2006, n= 14,907


U.S. Mobile Subscriber Monthly Consumption of Content and Applications
M:Metrics Benchmark Survey: November 2006

Activity                      Subscribers (1000s)   Percent    % Change
Sent Text Message                    76,814          38.4%        2.4%
Used Photo Messaging                 29,797          14.9%        2.4%
Browsed News and Information         21,312          10.7%       -4.5%
Purchased Ringtone                   17,795           8.9%        1.7%
Used Personal E-Mail                 16,727           8.4%       -2.3%
Used Mobile Instant Messenger        12,772           6.4%      -10.1%
Used Work E-Mail                      9,997           5.0%       -1.7%
Downloaded Mobile Game                7,347           3.7%        8.4%
Purchased Wallpaper or Screensaver    5,912           3.0%        0.8%

Source: M:Metrics, Inc., Copyright © 2007. Survey of U.S. mobile
subscribers. Data based on three-month moving average for period ending
30 November, 2006, n= 33,736
About M:Metrics Data

Based on continually refreshed samples of nationally representative mobile phone consumers, M:Metrics reports summarise market size, device reach, and key demographic and mobile phone usage characteristics.

The data presented here is drawn from an extensive survey questionnaire that collects specific device model and carrier subscription information from each month's sample of mobile phone subscribers, and also drills down into specific details related to current and past usage of various mobile phone applications and content. Data collected from each sample are statistically balanced and projected to the total national population of mobile phone subscribers.

Authorized Uses

Members of the press may cite research data or a portion of text provided that each is sourced to M:Metrics, for example, "Source: M:Metrics, Inc." or "According to M:Metrics, . . ." Copies of graphs, data tables or slides must include the following copyright notice affixed to all material: "Copyright © 2006, M:Metrics, Inc."

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Jaimee Minney
    M:Metrics
    +1 206.757.1360 (office)
    Email Contact