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For B2C Marketing Professionals

Who Pays For Online Content?

Soft Ad Revenues Make Publishers Look Twice At Content-Buying Consumers

March 9, 2009

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  • By Sarah Rotman Epps
  • with Dan Wilkos,
  • Mark Mulligan

Why Read This Report

As the economy continues to slide into recession, advertisers are curbing spend in all channels, including online: Publishers like AOL, Yahoo!, and the New York Times Company reported a decrease in online advertising revenues in Q4 2008, although year-on-year growth still appears strong. Whether softness in online advertising is a temporary or longer-term trend is up for debate, but even the specter of slowing growth in online advertising forces publishers to look again at paid content models. Forrester forecasts that US online consumers will spend $7.6 billion on online content in 2009, with two categories — video games and music — accounting for more than half of that spend. In most categories, only a small percentage of consumers are doing the spending. To reach consumers who are willing to pay for content, publishers need to understand the distinctions in demographics and attitudes of buyers in each category. Consumers who pay for online video, for example, fit a typical young, male, early-adopter profile, while those who pay to access services like Angie's List and are slightly older and less enthusiastic about technology.

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Table of Contents

  • As Advertiser Dollars Wane, Publishers Wonder If Consumers Will Pay

  • Paid Content Success Starts With Consumer Insight But Doesn't End There

  • For Better Or Worse, "Free" Is Still The Dominant Model For Online Content
  • Related Research Documents