Each week the MEF team curates mobile stories from around the world. Essential news, the latest market insight & data nuggets, the Global News Round-up offers an instant international mobile content and commerce snapshot.
Global News Stories
Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp for $16 billion (about £9.5b/AU$17.7b) isn’t supposed to change the popular instant messaging app, but it certainly changes the landscape of the real-time messaging services. That’s because the world’s No. 1 social network just bought its way into the hands WhatsApp’s engaged usersbase, which according to Mark Zuckerberg is on a path to one billion people. But more than the sheer number WhatsApp chatters, Facebook appears to be interested in the fact that many of the active users of this SMS-alternative are from developing countries.
MasterCard and Visa announced on Wednesday a plan to endorse a new mobile payments technology that could bring the idea of using your phone to tap-to-pay for purchases back from the dead. The technology is built into the latest version of the Android mobile operating system, called KitKat, that was released in the fall. At the time, the payments industry was abuzz about the inclusion of support for something called host-card emulation. BlackBerry already supported HCE, but Android’s market share dominance was the reason to now take notice.
Data released by the British Phonographic Industry has revealed a 41 per cent rise in revenues from music streaming services like Spotify and Deezer, now the fastest-growing area for record labels. Subscriptions, freemium platforms and cloud-based services from the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon combined to generate £77m for record companies in 2013. Subscriptions contributed the largest share of revenue at 71 per cent, the BPI annual review found.
Zuck Says Ads Aren’t The Way To Monetize Messaging, WhatsApp Will Prioritize Growth Not Subscriptions
Facebook won’t be throwing its advertising weight behind its new acquisition WhatsApplike it did with Instagram. But WhatsApp also won’t be focusing on rolling out the $1 a year subscription fee it currently charges in some countries. Instead, with the financial security Facebook brings, it will dedicate itself to growth. Monetization was the big topic on today’s analyst call after Facebook announced it acquired WhatsApp for a jaw-dropping total of $19 billion.
The company behind the phenomenally addictive Candy Crush Saga game is set to join the New York Stock Exchange in a sale that could value it at $5.5bn. King Digital Entertainment said Tuesday it plans to raise $500m from an initial public offering on the NYSE. As part of its filing to go public, King revealed the massive scale of its customers’ sweet addiction.
Apple seems to be gaining some ground in the world’s largest smartphone market. In China, Apple’s market share rose slightly in the fourth quarter of last year, helped by strong demand for its new iPhone 5S, the latest market research data shows. According to research firm IDC, Apple’s market share in mainland China rose to 7% in the quarter from 6% in the third quarter. The fourth quarter was the first full quarter after Apple launched its iPhone 5S and 5C in China in late September, on the same day the new phones came out in the U.S. and a host of other markets. In the past, iPhones went on sale in China months after they were launched in the U.S.
In their first annual global mobile data report, analytics firm Mixpanel reveals that Android is the originating platform for the lion’s share of app data generated from the top 15 countries as measured by active mobile usage. 64 percent of all the mobile data from the top 15 data generators came from Android devices, and only three of the top 15 have a primarily iOS-using population.
Affluent people are ‘significantly more receptive’ to mobile advertising than the general population, according to a global survey of 6,000 people conducted by the BBC’s commercial arm. The BBC Worldwide Affluent Connection survey of people from Australia, Germany, Sweden, India, Hong Kong and the US compared the habits of the top 20 per cent of earners to the rest of the public. Interestingly, they found that mobile is twice as good as desktop at driving brand metrics across the entire population – but this rises to four times as effective among affluent consumers.
With carriers ending support for premium SMS in mid-January, premium content providers and wireless carriers are exploring alternatives for monetizing mobile users, including direct carrier billing. There is value in leveraging the relationship between wireless carriers and subscribers, with 35 million mobile phone owners in the United States completing a purchase using premium SMS last month, according to a new report from Bango and Yankee Group.
Global News Round-up – These articles are not written by MEF and do not represent any views of individuals, members or the organisation.