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Online content sales: the number game debate

August 21, 2002
How excited should you get about a recent report by the Online Publishers Association about American consumers spending $675 million on online content? Depends on the kind of content you care about. A debate last week between Vin Crosbie and Rick Bruner shows just how relative the numbers are: what may be defined traditionally as content could account for only $140 million of the lavish spending. If you just want to password protect your existing content, this is the pie you will need to get a piece of. The rest was money spent on other content such as online services, music downloads and dating sites. Bruner is right in saying that as long as the $675 million is properly defined, the inflated figure is not misleading. However, B2B content under no definition would fit into consumer spending. And from the report it is unclear how much of "Business Content" and "Research" is actually B2B.

Rather than entering the number game and doing our own math from the report's raw numbers, we would like to draw publishers' attention to the sad fact that most of them do NOT have anything but traditional content. So before you get too excited, read the fine print.


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