Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Online Publishers Association Report Sees USD 1.6 Billion Market for Content Spending

Paying for online content has come of age officially. The Online Publishers Association (OPA) has released a report outlining a robust and shifting marketplace for online content sales. Topping the list for content revenues were Yahoo.com, Real.com and Match.com, with "serious" content portals Wsj.com coming in a number five and theStreet.com at 22, Britannica.com at 23 and SmartMoney.com at 25. The lion's share of revenues and growth are in personals, personal growth and dating services, with entertainment and lifestyles content taking a slight nosedive and general news showing a 25 percent growth rate. This reinforces the value of the Web as a personal medium that allows people to connect with like-minded people who can satisfy their needs. Highly valued content requires a personal touch, not necessarily the "personalization" features that many portals tinker with, though. The personal touch that many Web users seek is content that allows them to feel as if they are part of a network of peers who can support their interests on either a personal or intellectual basis. This peer-to-peer aspect of content is still a work in progress for many publishers and aggregators used to seeing personal content as an add-on or "would be nice" that generally gets integrated into "the product" either poorly or not at all. Amazon does it well with its recommendation services, and KeepMedia is exploring similar avenues as it tries to develop a "content concierge" approach to its services. But there is lots of fertile ground to explore in this arena of vContent - and, judging by the OPA report, lots of juicy revenues, as well.
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