Handmark, a developer and distributor of mobile media for smartphones, announced a deal with mobile entertainment company Zed for its expansive real music tones catalogue. We all know that smartphone users over-index in mobile data usage and content consumption, and this is the segment that Handmark squarely focuses on with its PocketExpress on-device portal, which supports BlackBery, Palm, Windows, Sybmian, iPhone and Android-based devices.
While the content from Zed certainly bolsters Handmark’s offering, what remains a lagging question for me is continued consumer willingness to pay for such content, particularly in light of the emergence of free and/or create-your-own content (in this case ringtones, such as iPhone ringtone creation with DRM-free content) becoming increasingly available to consumers. In fact the ringtone market, while the early darling in the mobile content space, has flattened and is expected to decline over the coming years. I believe that ad-support has to be key to sustaining/driving the mobile content market over the coming years.