Media firms fail to profit from SMS

Media companies have embraced SMS (Short Message Service) as a marketing channel but are unhappy with the returns they are...

Media companies have embraced SMS (Short Message Service) as a marketing channel but are unhappy with the returns they are getting from mobile operators and service providers, according to new research.

The Benchmark Research survey, which questioned 36 UK media companies in broadcasting, publishing and multimedia, found that 83% of respondents are now using SMS as a key component of their marketing campaigns.

Programme formats such as Big Brother and Pop Idol have proved the popularity of SMS, receiving hundreds of thousands of SMS votes each week, but media companies feel they are missing out on an equitable share of mobile revenues.

Although 20% of the media companies surveyed are using SMS to generate significant revenue, they remain unhappy with the average 40% revenue they are left with after the telcos have taken their share. Respondents said they believe they are being charged excessive amounts by the telecoms suppliers and service providers who support the service.

The survey also found that 55% of respondents do not consider their SMS services to be generating significant revenue at the moment, while 25% said they were unable to calculate any revenues from the new breed of service.

Gary Corbett, managing director of mobile infrastructure provider Opera Telecom, which commissioned the survey, said the mobile industry is in danger of shooting itself in the foot.

"This research proves that a large percentage of media companies are not getting a fair share of revenues from the SMS campaigns they are running," he said. "If this continues it will have a detrimental impact on the uptake of new services and will stunt the growth of the premium-rate mobile industry."

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