The Business of Video Messaging

I have no doubt that mobile video messaging and mobile video calling/messaging will grow. Cisco's February report "Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2009-2014" highlights that very well. The report separates out growth by application, including video messaging, video calling, video streaming and various forms of PC based mobile communications. It is clear according to this report that video and PCs/smart devices will be key drivers for the increase in global mobile data traffic. 
The report shows the traffic by terabytes/month, which is interesting in a way. For instance, you can compare that in 2010 there is forecasted to be 14 terabytes/month of text messaging compared to 50 terabytes/month of video messaging. Yes, you can compare and wrongly assume that video messaging is about 3.5 times the business of text messaging. But while the report is saying that the video data traffic is about 3.5 times the text traffic, it is not saying anything about business revenues.
We can make some assumptions about business revenues, though it's tricky business to figure out video messaging revenues since it depends on the payment plans. So let's look at the sheer number of messages as a way to look at the overall business.  Let's make the following assumptions - the average text is 35 bytes and the average video message is 70 kbytes. They are likely wrong, but directionally correct, which is all we're going for here.   
Going back to the 14 terabytes/month for text messaging, if you do the math above, that comes out to 400 billion text messages/month globally. Considering in March the CTIA put out their Semi-Annual Wireless Survey results for the United States, where it says almost 5 billion text messages per day were sent in the US last year, that's 150 billion/month last year just in the US.   So 400 billion is in the ballpark, probably the low end of the range actually.
For video messaging, it's 50 terabytes/month. If you do the math, that's 714 million / month (a nice number...if you're a baseball fan, you know that 714 is a magic number, since it's the number of home runs Babe Ruth hit!).
So while the forecasted number of video messages right now is an order of magnitude less than text messages, which makes sense, it is still a huge, huge number, one that the carriers and Value-Added Service Providers are paying attention to.  And this is why they are all adding these application capabilities to their networks.
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This page contains a single entry by Jim Machi published on May 5, 2010 10:00 AM.

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