From Ringbacktones

Could Ringback Tones Become the Internet’s Next Hot Affiliate Program?

Posted on: 03 Oct, 2008, by: Chris In: Ringback Tones

It was about one year ago when Comverse, a U.S.-based software and systems developer in the telecommunications industry, announced they were teaming up with T-Mobile Germany and Jamba to launch their new ringback tone platform – Fun Broker – in Germany. The press release, picked up by media outlets worldwide, probably went unnoticed by most if not all affiliate marketers. Take notice now because Comverse’s technology may soon catapult ringback tones into affiliate program stardom.

Fun Broker “Changes the Game”

The Comverse technology is straightforward – a platform (branded “Fun Broker”) that enables off-deck portals, such as Jamba, to sell ringback tones on behalf of their wireless partners (T-Mobile Germany, in this case). Jamba leans on its extensive experience as a digital entertainment portal (selling ringtones, mobile games, cell phone wallpaper, and such), and its huge customer reach, and then adds ringback tones to the mix of digital entertainment offerings. Jamba is already seeing positive results (Webinar).

Prior to the launch of Fun Broker, T-Mobile Germany relied on their own on-portal marketing efforts to promote ringback tones to their customers; and this remains the case for other wireless carriers worldwide who have not yet adopted Fun Broker-like technologies and found similar off-deck partners. Lee Fenton, COO of Jamba, believes “operators have too much to do already to successfully take on the entire burden of constant promotion of ringback tones.”

Ringback tones, unlike ringtones, have always been sold on-portal by carriers because the technology requires that ringback tones be stored on the carrier’s network, whereas ringtones are saved directly to your phone. Third-party affiliates could not market ringback tones to their unique customer base because the technology just didn’t exist to sell direct to consumers. Fun Broker changes the game, for the better.

Ringback Tone Sales On Track to Reach $4.7 Billion Annually

The adoption of Comverse’s technology, and the parternship with T-Mobile, now allows Jamba to do what they do best: utilize their market-savvy to sell digital content (ringback tones, for example) to their consumers in Germany. And in case you haven’t heard, the market for ringback tones is heating up.

Ringback tones have always played second fiddle to ringtones in annual worldwide revenue, but this may be changing. According to digital media research firm MultiMedia Intelligence, “ringback tones are on track to become the most attractive mobile content category by 2012,” with global revenue “nearly tripling to $4.7 Billion.” Frank Dickson, Chief Research Officer at MultiMedia Intelligence makes the point that ringback tones offer “a winning combination of consumer popularity, and minimal impact from DRM or piracy.” Ringtones, on the other hand, are “facing challenges” according to Mr. Dickson, “consumers increasingly are able to create their own ringtones.”

Opportunities Abound for Affiliate Marketers

The carrier-network-only technology, which has limited the growth in ringback tone sales, is now seen as a big reason to reconsider them as premium content with a bright future. Take this optimism, add-in the growing demand from consumers, and combine it with the Fun Broker platform and you have a “perfect storm” of opportunities for affiliate marketers.

As portals, such as Jamba, open-up these ringback tone sales channels to their own affiliate networks savvy affiliate marketers will have a potential $4.7 Billion market to participate in - a market that wasn’t available to them prior to the introduction of Comverse’s Fun Broker platform. Just imagine the possibilities!