Sponsored mobile data in Asia could fetch $6bn by 2019

Smartphone users

Consumer brands and mobile service providers in Asia could unlock an annual revenue opportunity of as much as $6 billion by 2019 through the sponsorship of mobile data services, says a new study from Syniverse.

In the sponsored-data model, companies sponsor usage for specific content on behalf of subscribers of various mobile service providers, allowing subscribers to access this content without being charged for the usage.

The survey conducted by Syniverse among 3,500 people in seven countries across Asia finds that consumers are generally willing to accept the branding of content, advertising and promotional material in return for free data.

The results are as following:

Sixty-two percent of respondents said they would accept the branding of content and advertising in return for free data.

Forty-nine percent of respondents would be willing to accept coupon offers from sponsors.

Respondents also would be willing to accept offers from a wide range of sponsoring organizations, with 42 percent saying they would accept offers from entertainment providers.

Thirty-one percent of respondents would be willing to accept offers from bars, restaurants and cafes.

Twenty-nine percent would be willing to accept offers from travel companies.

“Content providers, mobile service providers and consumers have been stuck in a no-win situation when it comes to mobile data usage,” said Mary Clark, chief marketing officer, Syniverse. “Consumers want to use more data along with richer mobile engagement, and operators and content providers are missing out on the revenue that this usage could deliver.”

The results of this study underline the business case that should motivate operators and their partners to consider sponsored-data plans as a way to drive revenue as well as consumer engagement, Clark added.

The research, conducted in partnership with Strategic Economic Engineering Corp (SEEC) finds the market value of the sponsored data will be $6 billion a year by 2019.

“Our analysis shows that the sponsored-data model has the potential to substantially affect consumers’ behavior favorably for all parties involved,” said Sam Brown, founder and CEO, SEEC. “The key to unlocking this potential, however, will be the ability of sponsors and operators to work together to hone highly personalized offers that meet individual user expectations and requirements for engagement.”

According to Syniverse, sponsored data offers considerable benefits for all involved, enabling content providers to enjoy increased use of their services, providing mobile operators with a new source of revenue, and offering consumers cheaper access to content.

Further results from the Syniverse study uncovered a number of other insights about Asian consumers’ receptiveness to sponsored data.

Access to sponsored-data plans could significantly affect consumers’ content consumption and open a substantial revenue opportunity for sponsors and mobile operators:

Data-intensive content, such as subscription video services (which are currently the most costly services to access), would see increases in usage of 40 percent.

The same access would increase consumption of subscription-based music services by 25 percent.

Other services expected to see moderate increases include free video services, voice and video calling services over data networks, and online games.

Consumers are most willing to accept sponsorship for reduced or free data costs from the following types of sponsoring organizations: Entertainment providers (42 percent of respondents); Bars, restaurants and cafes (31 percent of respondents); and Travel companies (30 percent of respondents).

Consumers are also most willing to accept sponsored branding or advertising in order to gain free access to or use of the following: Websites, for mobile Internet browsing (43 percent of respondents); social networking applications and services (41 percent of respondents); and free Web-based video services (38 percent of respondents).

Source: Syniverse

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