RealNetworks (NSDQ: RNWK), which helps carriers sell ringtones, ringback tones and full-track music, believes the continuing trend in mobile content is to provide a bite-sized or “snackable” content experience, whereas the TV and PC will be the venues for longer, richer, high-definition experiences, according to Analisa Roberts, RealNetwork’s senior director of market planning and analysis. That’s not a new concept in the industry, however, the thinking has started to get muddled with new entrants, like mobile broadcast TV, which offers full-length shows and movies, and other content providers that see phones with big screens and faster network speeds as away to move everything from TV or online over to mobile without any alterations. To be sure, RealNetworks provides the range when it comes to music, by selling slices of music that are used for ringtones and ringback tones and also full-track music downloads. Here’s a snapshot of their thoughts on the matter:
On recent developments: About two years ago, RealNetworks acquired South Korean-based WiderThan for $350 million for its mobile music expertise and then more recently it bought Sony NetServices for $9 million to gain a European mobile music foothold. Last month, it gained recognition for launching an exclusive deal for Rhapsody with Verizon Wireless that includes both full-track and subscription music services.
Lots more, including thoughts on mobile music, after the jump…
Mobile Music by the Numbers:
— Ringback tones: Ringback tones make up the bulk of RealNetwork’s business when counting subscribers. As of Q1, they had 16 carrier deployments in 10 countries with 28 million mobile subscribers, which mostly have subscriptions. “Our ringback tone subscriber base continues to grow at a great rate….It’s strong in the U.S. and Asia, but Europe is a focus and we are seeing traction there.” To give an idea, 10.5 percent of the global subscriber base has a ringback tone subscription. It’s particularly strong in Asia-Pacific, with the U.S. hitting 8.4 percent penetration. “It