The $100 Million Revenue Club: PlayPhone More Than Just Ringtones

As PlayPhone Inc. has proven, selling a smorgasbord of mobile content for the world’s best-known news, retail and entertainment companies can be lucrative. It also requires constant reinvention.

The San Jose-based company has grown quickly on the back of simple feature phones by selling content like ringtones and wallpaper. But in the past couple of years, U.S. consumers have grown to expect more elaborate content–like games, music, apps and video–for the small screen. Playphone has had to forge new partnerships with content providers, and adapt its business model to keep up with fast-changing consumer demand.

“People used to pay $3 for a 30-second ringtone,” said Sharon Wienbar, managing director at Scale Venture Partners and a PlayPhone board member. “Now it’s 99 cents for a full song. And people with iPhones don’t need wallpaper. So life is not always a cakewalk at PlayPhone.”

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