Jack (ndr) wrote in lj_biz,

The Free-for-All Web Is Evolving Into a For-Fee Medium

US Online Content Buyers to Number 15.7 Million This Year

One of the internet's most hallowed attributes is slowly but surely eroding. According to eMarketer's just- released Online Content Report, not only are more sites charging for content -- more consumers are paying for it.

eMarketer projects that 15.7 million US consumers will purchase online content in 2002, and the number will rise to 21 million in 2003. That means 10% of all US internet users will pay for online content this year and 13% next year.

"The environment is changing," says Ben Macklin, Senior Analyst at eMarketer. "It is a simple case of economic Darwinism. Weak companies have died out and the remaining companies are adapting."

It's estimated that individual consumers will pay $3.8 billion worldwide for online content in 2002 and organizations $44 billion, adding up to nearly $50 billion by the end of this year.

"The question of whether consumers are more willing to pay for online content has become largely irrelevant," says Mr. Macklin. "The more appropriate question is whether businesses are any longer willing to offer online content and services for free. And the answer increasingly seems to be no."

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