Content platform providers starting to emerge

As carriers respond to increasing demand for digital content, mobile-content enablement-platform providers are becoming an increasingly important segment of the wireless communications space.
A new report by research firm iSuppli said that as mobile phones migrate from being simple communications devices to becoming computing and music-playback platforms, consumer demand for content such as music, video and applications is booming as well.

Content-enablement platform companies provide the software, systems and infrastructure to take content from the content companies and supply it to users via wireless operators' networks. The tasks involve ingesting, cataloging, storing and delivering content as well as handling all of the corresponding financial transactions.

The report said that due to the multitude of devices on the market today, various forms of content will be required in order to meet the demands of each consumer's handset.

"Because of this, wireless carriers are increasingly utilizing the services of mobile-content enablement-platform providers, which offer a bridge between the content providers and the wireless operators," it asserted.

iSuppli said this demand will cause the mobile-content enablement-platform provider market to rise to $7.1 billion by 2010, up from $4.2 billion in 2006.

The opportunity is huge because the enablement companies have a crucial role to fulfill, according to iSuppli. "The process of delivering content requires an in-depth knowledge of the entire ecosystem for each and every user. When a user requests a piece of content, the enablement company first needs to check to see if the consumer's handset is capable of receiving and storing the content based on the individual handset feature set."

Currently, iSuppli said there is an imbalance in the amount of power wielded by each of the three groups of companies, with the content providers and carriers possessing far more influence than the smaller enablement-platform companies.

"Because of this, the smaller enablement-platform companies are often at a disadvantage when entering into deals with the larger, more powerful content providers and carriers," it noted.