Global trade body Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) has revealed its members expect an average revenue growth of 27% in the mobile entertainment industry during 2009.

The figure comes from the MEF's first quarterly Business Confidence Index (BCI). Its survey of MEF members also reveals that 88% of respondents anticipated their company's headcount would grow or remain stable over the next quarter. And rather than feel the pinch of the current economic downturn, over half of the respondents believed mobile entertainment was an affordable "feel good" purchase that would survive the changing environment.

Social networking topped the areas of mobile entertainment growth, followed respectively by music, video, games and infotainment.

Geographically, the BCI highlighted China, and Central and South America as territories to watch in 2009, with respondents predicting over 50% growth in the regions.

"I believe that the BCI's positive outlook reflects ROI [return on investment] that our industry expects to see in 2009 and beyond after almost a decade of investment in mobile media," said MEF executive director Rimma Perelmuter in a statement. "With growth anticipated across key segments of the industry, MEF will be working with our members to help them capitalise on new opportunities and address existing bottlenecks presented over the next twelve months."

The BCI was compiled in collaboration with audit and financial analysts KPMG. The first edition was based on a 15-question survey to MEF members -- from content owners to billing aggregators and service providers -- on the different areas of the mobile entertainment value chain.

MEF values the global mobile entertainment industry at $32 billion.