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Premium SMS racks up healthy revenues

Almost one third (32 per cent) of US mobile content revenue – $237m – came from off portal premium SMS revenues in the first quarter of 2007, according to a report from US digital consumer researcher Telephia.

In its Premium SMS report, Telephia investigated trends in off portal content purchases where premium SMS was the transaction medium, as well as premium text services such as chat and voting.

Off portal content downloads, for products such as ringtones and information services, via premium SMS totalled nearly $215m, representing 79 per cent of premium SMS revenue.

The remainder of the revenues came from voting or sweepstake services. And while the $35m generated from these services represented only 13 per cent of total revenues, they accounted for 47 per cent of US premium SMS volume for the first quarter, or 34 million transactions, Telephia said.

“Premium text messaging continues to be an additional way to reach consumers directly – off the carrier decks,” said Kanishka Agarwal, vice president of mobile media at Telephia.

“Premium SMS has grabbed a healthy slice of the mobile content market, accounting for an off portal share of 32 percent. Moreover, marketers are experimenting beyond the standard rate SMS voting pioneered by American Idol and tapping into premium SMS with voting/sweepstakes campaigns.

NBC’s Deal or No Deal has translated into a premium SMS hit, generating nearly half of the volume and revenue of voting/sweepstakes entries in the first quarter of 2007,” he added.

Category type Volume share Number of transactions Revenue share Total Q107 Revenue
Off-portal storefront purchases 40% 29.5m 79% $214.9m
Voting/Sweepstake entries 47% 34.7m 13% $35.4m
Other* 6% 4.2m 6% $17.4m
Chat/Community 7% 5.5m 2% $5.7m

Source: Telephia Premium SMS Report and Telephia Attitudes and Behavior Survey, Q1 2007

*Represents unclassified premium SMS short codes


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