The study, based on a March online survey of 13- to-34-year-olds, found that more than 37 percent of mobile phone users are interested in receiving broadband multimedia content. For young men ages 13-24, that rate increases to 40 percent.
In addition, almost one of four respondents age 18 and older said they might switch to another carrier if their current service provider doesn't offer mobile media services.
"There's enough potential and enough interest in these services that there's a substantial risk of [defection] if providers don't offer these services," said Paul Petersky, The Management Network Group's vice president for market research.
Petersky said the study focused on younger consumers because they are heavy users of mobile phones. More than half of the surveyed consumers consider their mobile phones to be their primary phone line; 12 percent don't even have a land line at home.
The study asked consumers specifically about video, games, and music--such as radio stations and downloadable music files. Thirty-four percent of those surveyed said they would be interested in mobile music downloads, compared to 21 percent who expressed interest in a video clips service and another 21 percent who were interested in multi-player 3D gaming. "Of all the services we tested, music services really represent the most immediate and attractive opportunity," Petersky said. "Music is already available and being consumed mobilely through MP-3 players and satellite radio, so it's not a big leap."
What's more, consumers favor free, ad-supported content over subscription-supported, ad-free content. Roughly two out of five consumers would be interested in receiving ad-supported multimedia, compared to one out of five who would be willing to pay subscription fees for ad-free content.
This finding is particularly salient, Petersky said, because it shows that mobile devices could provide an avenue for advertisers to reach the elusive young male demographic. "The 13- to-34-year-old market is becoming more and more difficult--especially younger men--to reach through conventional media," he said. "This certainly is an increment of opportunity to reach that demographic."