Mobile dating services have yet to peak in user numbers or profitability, according to recent information out of Hampshire, UK. A recent Juniper Research report found that new revenue streams from event-based charging and advertising will help push the value of the mobile dating and chat room market to nearly $1.4 billion by 2013. This is only part of a burgeoning user-generated content (UGC) market that will reach $7.3 billion by the same time. Most mobile dating service revenues will be from subscriptions over the next five years, but in the event-based charging model, free registration is supported with fees when users wish to contact each other, offer gifts to send to others, and any number of additional features.
“While the subscription-based approach remains the prevalent business model in this area, services which are free at point of discovery rapidly generate a far higher customer base," says report author Dr Windsor Holden in a press release .
This approach sees conversion rates amongst free service customers buying premium services which generate higher revenues than those under flat rate subscriptions. Less than thirty percent of mobile dating customers will be on flat-rate subscriptions by 2011.
Other findings of the report show the Far East and China region currently have the largest subscriber numbers, primarily due to the success of Japanese dating services. Advertising will provide the majority of mobile social networking revenues but less than one-third of all UGC revenues by 2013.
Examples in the still nascent category include sites like MeetMoi , a location based mobile dating service that updates subscribers' locations in real-time. When users are nearby each other, they can message, "wink," or share locations and meet up in real life. Bouncephone users text the service itself to be matched, and can then text each other using only each others' user names.