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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Fewer charges for website content
A computer mouse
Many web users believe online content should be free
The number of UK media groups charging for online content has nearly halved over the last year, according to the Association of Online Publishers (AOP).

The association said just 37% of its members now charged for some online content, compared with 63% in 2005.

However, a quarter of the AOP members that do charge for online material said it earned them more than 5m in 2005.

AOP's members include IPC Media, BSkyB, Reuters, BBC, FT.com, The Economist Group, Guardian Unlimited and Which?.

Display ads

The healthy online ad market has probably convinced most publishers that there is little point in... trying to convert customers to paying
Bill Murray, Association of Online Publishers

Its survey of members for 2006 showed that display advertising was still the main source of income, making up an average of 41% of online revenues.

Paid-for content was responsible for 18% of all revenues, while sponsorship made up 9%.

The AOP said that the proportion of its members saying they were unlikely to start charging for online content had risen from 18% in 2004 to 43% in 2006.

"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 is little point in... trying to convert customers to paying," said AOP chairman Bill Murray.

"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."


SEE ALSO:
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Ten years of selling in cyberspace
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