Juniper: Operator storefronts, portals drive just 6% of mobile content downloads

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Operator storefronts and portals now yield just 6 percent of mobile content downloads worldwide, far behind Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play at a combined 70 percent, Juniper Research reports.

While the increasing popularity of over-the-top digital media storefronts have led many operators to shutter their own content portals, Juniper states carriers can offset the decline in revenues by offering billing solutions to third-party stores: The firm forecasts revenues from mobile content monetized through direct carrier billing will increase from $2 billion in 2012 to $13 billion in 2017. Juniper notes storefronts that have already integrated carrier billing options have experienced a jump in conversion rates that is 5 to 6 times those with credit card billing, as well as an increase in average transaction values.

Mobile Content billed to Direct Carrier

Revenues are expected to rise from $2 billion last year to more than $13 billion by 2017.

"While many operators have now abandoned the own-brand storefront approach, by leveraging their billing relationship with the end user they can retain a foothold in the content play," report author Windsor Holden said. "Simply by offering consumers a billing choice, monetization rates will rise dramatically."

Juniper adds that direct carrier billing implementations are allowing storefronts and developers to monetize unbanked and underbanked regions and demographics for the first time but warns that carrier billing for higher-value content will be less effective among prepaid users given the relatively low top-up levels in most markets.

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