European Trends - Bullish On Mobile

Bob Johnson

Europe may look like an economic disaster on the nightly news, what with failing banks, enormous debt and populations rioting in the streets, but when it comes to mobile porn, things couldn’t be better. With a fertile market and bright future, more companies are jumping on the bandwagon.

As Reporo’s global sales director Andrew Turner recalls, although Greece’s sex industry was hit hard by the recession, overall mobile adult content is on the rise in Europe as smartphone sales soar across the continent with more and more people searching adult content on their mobile devices.

The rapid growth is also presenting a boon to companies that help monetize adult webmasters traffic. -Joey Gabra, Affil4You

Turner is especially encouraged by the London-based company’s mobile ad network that has seen major growth across its banner network, its redirect network and its recently launched pop under platform.

And mobile payment provider Dimoco underscores the growth of mobile in Europe. Earlier this year the company expanded its billing options in the Finnish, Norwegian, Dutch, Swedish and Spanish markets. The additions bolstered the company’s hub to 19 countries.

Dimoco maintains that micro payment billing has become one of the most popular forms of billing — square in the face of struggling economies. “In the last few years the difference has been that innovations like the smartphone are booming and the giant content business has had a positive impact on mobile developments and thus on economic growth,” sales unit manager for mobile entertainment Markus Fischbacher says.

This unbridled optimism about European mobile shows no signs of abating with even more cheerleaders jumping on board.

Spankmo Mobile CEO Graeme Kingshott adds, “We’re breaking new records each month. The European market is growing, as the rate of smartphone handset penetration increases, as consumers are trading up, and data packages become more competitively priced by operators.”

And that’s not all. Growth in the tablet market is also bolstering things across the pond, supported by new home couch surfing. Add the steady appeal of BDSM content sparked by the “Fifty Shades” phenomenon that’s allowing couples to share their erotic fantasies on the small screen, and the stage is set for continued growth well into the near future.

Plain old consumer awareness is also adding to the eastern European boom, according to Reporo’s Turner who echoes Kingshott’s observations about more affordable operator data packages and tablet acceptance.

“Revenues from mobile adult content and services are expected to reach $2.8 billion by 2015, driven primarily through the uptake of video chat and subscription based services. The solid growth of the smartphone and tablet markets and the increasing availability of faster mobile data connections have a major impact on the industry. We’ve seen high-growth in a number of major markets including Eastern Europe,” Turner says. He predicts that as the mobile juggernaut continues, “We’ll be witnessing some major changes of how adult content is consumed in the near future.”

The rapid growth is also presenting a boon to companies that help monetize adult webmasters traffic. Affil4You’s managing director for North America Joey Gabra notes that the scenario is great for companies like his that offer services for the fast-growing amount of mobile traffic that webmasters can’t monetize themselves.

Gabra believes that the economic woes have had little effect on mobile with only a few small exceptions — and when they do, they present a mobile opportunity.

He explains, “In a few countries, more consumers are starting to use prepaid mobile plans and devices, which makes it much more difficult to successfully bill those users if they don’t top-up their prepaid accounts. And in most other countries, many users are cutting back on their Internet usage do to the struggling economy. But this actually works to the benefit of the mobile industry as more people are becoming dependent on their mobile devices to get what they want online.”

And with the proliferation of European mobile porn, comes the opportunity for billing services that’s also giving that segment of the market a shot in the arm.

As Fischbacher points out, Europe is the home of operator billing and Dimoco is seeing more business thanks to the “enormous smartphone boom” along with increased business opportunities. He cites smaller micro-payment billing as a key catalyst for the business surge.

The executive explains that in Europe consumers pay for their content on the mobile channel as opposed to the U.S. credit card only billing that restricts billing through carriers. The ability to bill through European carriers allows for quicker impulse buys, pumping up the mobile business even faster.

Gabra further notes that unlike the tightly regulated U.S. market, where mobile network carriers shy away from adult services, Europe’s more billing friendly environment has helped bolster the business.

Turner says his company’s steady European growth is attributed in large part to smartphone subscription buys that include video chat, short streaming clips and “lots of sex-related apps.”

And the harder the better. He maintains that harder content generates much higher click through rates for advertisers, thus generating more traffic and sales. Reporo is also seeing a steady rise in gay content across all platforms, according to Turner.

Spankmo responded to the upswing in gay mobile as well, demonstrated by its recently announced partnership with gay giant NakedSword. Kingshott notes that he sees a greater European demand for niche sites within his NATS program, whereas U.S. traffic tends to gravitate to more mainstream tastes.

Content that’s high quality, frequently updated, full scene-length and streamed on an all-you-can-eat basis, is what works best according to Kingshott, who stresses that customer retention is becoming even more important in the increasingly busy marketplace.

Of course it’s no mystery that good content will win out whatever the medium — whether it’s a website or mobile, and the appeal of hardcore transcends all geographic borders. As Gabra points out, most mobile trends apply globally, so once good content is established factors including convenience, privacy, affordability, discrete billing, and instant gratification become key.

Of course with opportunity comes the hunger for expansion and those companies that have a foothold in the European mobile market are planning for further growth.

Reporo’s Turner says in the short term the company will expand its six global offices and focus on its gay ad banner and redirect network.

“Our publisher team is working hard to secure year-long deals with the largest adult publishers in the world as well as securing high converting native speaking publishers in each country. The aim is to build on our current 18 billion impressions per month with advertisers from 55 countries with the highest converting adult mobile traffic in volume,” Turner says.

And Affil4You is seeking to bolster its recurring subscriber base so that it can increase revenue from redirected mobile traffic. New territories in more countries with more mobile connections are also on the horizon for the company.

On the billing front, Dimoco’s Fischbacher says the focus is on expanding its mobile network that now services 23 countries to even more mobile operators and to connect several more countries.

Spankmo too will be adding more mobile payment options to its offerings along with a further expansion of its NATS affiliate program, Kingshott says.

The company is particularly bullish on, launching new sites with its studio and program partners, keeping sites fresh, and updating regularly.

A fertile market has many of the major players looking toward a bright future. As Affil4You’s Gabra describes it, “world mobile domination,” by his and other companies that are quick and savvy enough to embrace the Old World’s new technology.


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