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Mobile Social Networking: $6B by 2012

User-generated revenues from social networking sites are expected to grow exponentially as users go mobile

Social networking fans will drive mobile user-generated content revenues to nearly $6bn by 2012.

User-generated revenues from social networking services, dating and content uploaded to third party sites will increase from $572m in 2007 to more than $5.7bn in 2012, analyst house Juniper Research predicts.

Social networking is expected to bring in half of the $5.7bn total revenue by the end of the 2012 forecast period, according to Juniper.

Windsor Holden, principal analyst at Juniper Research, told "People using social networking at the moment are sat in front of a PC. The advantage of the mobile means that people can use their dead time to continue using such social networking sites."

Holden said: "There is an enormous advantage to either putting a version of those sites on the mobile or - through convergence - putting exactly those sites on the mobile."

The number of mobile users accessing social networking sites via their phones is also forecast to rise - from 14 million in 2007 to nearly 600 million in 2012.

Holden said making money on user-generated mobile content is "a challenge", with the major fixed brands not yet fully established in the mobile environment.

Mobile dating and chatrooms currently account for 57 per cent of user-generated revenues, with this proportion falling to 21 per cent by 2012 as other services increase in popularity, Juniper predicts.

Separate research by mobile media company M:Metrics found 12.3 million consumers in the US and Western Europe accessed a social networking site through their mobile in June 2007.

The US has the largest number of on-the-go social networkers, with 7.5 million phone-toting social surfers during the month of June this year. Italy is next with 1.3 million and the UK is in third place with 1.1 million, the research found.

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