Ring Ring Is More Like Ching Ching

from Forbes: The number of kids armed with cell phones is surprisingly high. By the end of this year, half of all children between the age of 11 or 17 will have their own phone, according to the Yankee Group. They’re profitable consumers, too: Kids use more minutes on their cell plans and spend freely on premium, paid services. All told, users under the age of 18 probably account for as much as a quarter of the $100 million a year cellular service market.
It’s a big enough market to have attracted the attention of folks outside the telecommunications world who want a piece of the action. The major movie studios have been some of the first businesses to market to kids using mobiles.
“We have content on all the major carriers, and on 40 or so carriers worldwide,” says Larry Shapiro, executive vice president of business development and operations for the Walt Disney Internet Group. “I think we are one of the few companies in the space who are in every category, with ring tones, wallpaper, games, data applications…We’ve been pretty pleased with our success and our balance.”
With each premium phone service sold, Disney doesn’t just get kids excited about its new movie–it makes money. A videogame download or new ring tone can cost a user several dollars, charged to his phone bill. Content providers share the earnings with the mobile network operator, making these services an attractive–and booming–new revenue stream for both industries.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.