Such a demonstrable pedigree over the years has made it all the more baffling as to why such a valuable service never shook-off the industry misconception that it was a failure.
MMS first launched with the unrealistically high expectations that it would mirror the success of SMS and was hampered by technical problems and over-pricing during its early years, but it can hardly be labelled as a failure: MMS will amass revenue exceeding USD 250 billion in the period 2009-2016.
Yet MMS is facing stiff competition and in 2011 fell behind mobile e-mail in revenue-generating terms.
With the dawn of more advanced technologies like 3G and accelerating smartphone penetration, MMS growth has now started showing signs of slowing down. Amongst various benefits of faster Internet speeds, the combination of smartphones and 3G has extended the novel idea of multimedia file sharing with appropriate simplicity. In addition, reducing mobile data costs make services/applications – such as social networking, mobile e-mail, photo-sharing clients and video streaming – much cheaper than MMS. The era of mobile social networking has given the consumer a plethora of multimedia-related options. Sharing multimedia with multiple ‘friends’ is virtually a click away, something MMS cannot offer – even now.
However, while social networking sites and e-mail have seemingly now become a preferred mode among mobile subscribers with which to broadcast multimedia content, MMS is and will still be a preferred medium for sharing personal content.
It’s true that MMS growth is slowly easing off. We have drastically cut the aggressive forecasts we previously published, and by the end of the forecast period in our latest research report growth in MMS traffic and MMS revenues will have almost levelled off completely. But we must still recognise growth. We are not forecasting decline, just decline in growth. MMS still generates in excess of USD 30 billion per annum and both traffic and revenues are expected to continue growing every year for the next five years. Our forecasts show that MMS will generate revenues of USD 183.2 billion over the years 2012-2016. That is still a very sizeable chunk of cash, so let’s not write MMS off yet.
For more thoughts on MMS – including the sad decline of MMS under the growing popularity of social networking sites and the savage irony that the massive growth of smartphones has been both the best and worst thing to ever happen to MMS – appear in Portio Research’s new ‘Mobile Messaging Futures 2012-2016’ report.