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Mobile games to "disappoint" in ad revenue stakes

But the ad-funded market will still prove an important opportunity for brands to connect to customers, says Screen Digest

Screen Digest has published a report looking at mobile advertising, which predicts that while the market will be worth approximately USD 2.79 billion by 2012, the vast majority of that figure will go on mobile TV, and the ad spend for mobile games "will disappoint" in comparison.

But Screen Digest's senior analyst and head of Mobile Media, David MacQueen, told that pure advertising spend isn't the whole picture, and that mobile games will remain an important market for connecting consumers with brands.

"We are predicting a relatively strong showing in terms of the number of downloads that are free, rising up to around 60 million downloads per year across Europe, North America, India, China, South Korea and Japan," he said.

"We're saying that the ad spend isn't necessarily going to be massively high, but partly it's a little bit of a definitional problem - what constitutes an ad spend?

"The difference really is that we're looking at advertising, and not at games used as a marketing or promotional tool, which we still think is going to be a sizeable chunk of the free games downloads that people will be getting.

"For example, if Coca-Cola commissioned a free game for download, we're not counting that as advertising, as it's not about the placing of an ad.

"Games will still be an important part of the advertising market on mobile, but the actual ads themselves through mobile games - while still important for the companies involved in that sector such as Greystripe and Amobee - we think that for the big advertisers, once mobile TV takes off, they'll see that as the more important channel."

MacQueen also added that there could be a potential hit on time spent playing mobile games as mobile TV becomes more popular - like the comparisons with Grand Theft Auto IV and Iron Man - but that a bigger impact is likely to come from operators marketing the TV offerings at the expense of mobile games.

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