UK Survey Shows Paid-For Content Decreasing

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The UK’s Association of Online Publishers (AOP) released the results of its membership survey today, the AOP Census 2006, which illustrates that online advertising revenue continues to be the best income source for most AOP member organizations. But, at the same time the survey also revealed that for the first time since the Census was first administered four years ago, the number of publishers charging for branded, quality online content has dropped to 37% compared with 63% in 2005.

Display advertising continues to make up the largest part of income for AOP members, making up an average of 41% of online revenue. The next most important source of income is paid-for content with 18% of online revenue. Sponsorship contributes to 9% of online revenue.

The survey also illustrates that for those AOP members that do charge for content this service provides a large percentage of their overall income. 37% of those publishers who charge for content earned more than £1m in revenue in 2005 from paid-for content alone, and 26 per cent earned more than £5m.

Bill Murray, AOP chairman and managing director of group business information strategy for Haymarket Publishing, said in a press statement, “While there remains a strong view from consumers that web content must be free, the healthy online ad market has probably convinced most publishers that there’s little point in sacrificing valuable ad inventory in trying to convert consumers to paying. However, I suspect that within the B2B market and with some of the more interactive, high-value consumer content enabled by broadband, we will see long term growth in the number of publishers charging for the best content.”

The study was conducted independently by research consultancy Fox Insight on behalf of AOP.

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