I thought my television remote was broken the other day. I'd gotten to the part of the TV show where there was a pause in the programming. Loud and colourful 30-sec adverts started dancing across my screen, pushing everything from shampoo for women with blonde hair (note my picture, I'm a brunette) to car insurance (I don't own a car). I was hitting the fast-forward button, but nothing happened. I got as far as taking the back off of the remote to jiggle the batteries when I realised I was watching live programmed TV and I COULDN'T SKIP THE ADS.

Watching live telly, this is just something I have to put up with for now, but online is a different story. From the films we stream online to the playlists we create and share with our friends within digital music services — consumers are now willing to pay for ad-free content in a way that we couldn't have conceived of five years ago. Forrester's Online Paid Content Forecast, 2012 To 2017 (EU-7) shows that with successful paid services for music, video, games, and news now available in Europe, the number of online content buyers in Western Europe is set to grow between 8% and 12% over the next five years, and revenue from paid content is set to grow 65% — from €6,2 billion in 2012 to €10,2 billion by 2017.

What does this mean for marketers?

You will have fewer chances to reach consumers with traditional advertising

The very services driving growth in digital content consumption are limiting pure advertising opportunity for brands, by adopting payment models that don't require brand advertising for revenue and even driving consumer appetite for more ad-free content.

Brands must develop content capabilities to avoid losing ground

It's not all doom and gloom. The growth in Western Europeans buying content shows us that audiences want, and value, content. Marketers can ensure their brand gains presence by developing content capabilities. How?

Forrester clients can read my latest report: Develop Content Capabilities Now.

And some more related Forrester research:
Publishers Need Multichannel Subscription Models

Can't Pay, Won't Pay: Why Paid Digital Content Isn't Working

People Pay For Content; They Just Don't Own It

Boost Your Content Ecosystem With Video