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Mobile Entertainment Revenue Approaches U.S Box Office Totals

Mobile entertainment generated $9.14 billion in revenue last year in the U.S., bringing it close to the $10.35 billion American moviegoers spent on ticket purchases.


As movie box office sales slump in the U.S., a new set of screens is capturing the time and money of American viewers: Tablets and smartphones.

Mobile entertainment generated $9.14 billion in revenue last year in the U.S., approaching the estimated $10.35 billion American moviegoers spent on ticket purchases, according to the latest research from SNL Kagan.

SNL Kagan

Revenue from games, videos, music and services based on the user’s location has grown at a combined annual rate of 50 percent since 2011. It doesn’t take much imagination to see mobile entertainment surpassing theatrical box office soon — especially since movie attendance last year hit its lowest level in 20 years.

Games such as Cut the Rope and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood are by far the most lucrative form of mobile entertainment, generating more than $5.2 billion in revenue last year in the U.S. Large touchscreens, easy-to-navigate stores and chips that sense movement have helped fan sales.

Video is the second-largest source of entertainment revenue on portable devices, bringing in an estimated $1.8 billion in the U.S., Kagan estimates. The majority of those proceeds is coming from advertising revenue generated by mobile versions of popular video sites such as Google’s YouTube.

Music, meanwhile, is undergoing a transformation. Ringtones, once a billion-dollar business in the U.S., have been replaced by on-demand music streaming services such as Spotify and online radio offerings like Pandora. These streaming services report most of their users listen via mobile devices. Mobile music brought in about $1.76 billion last year in the U.S.

Location-aware services, the nerdy term for applications that use location to deliver some sort of experience, are the clear laggard, Kagan found.

This article originally appeared on

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