U. S. Consumer Spending on Online Content Totals $1.3 Billion in 2002, According to Online Publishers Association Report
NEW YORK, NY -- March 4, 2003 -- The Online Publishers Association today released its U.S. Market Spending Report for paid online content covering Q4 and the Full Year 2002.
The study, conducted by comScore Networks, determined that consumer spending for online content in the U.S. totaled $1.3 billion in 2002, an increase of 95% over 2001.
From Q3 to Q4 2002, paid content revenue fell from $361 million to $338 million, suggesting that seasonality and overall economic factors may be increasingly affecting the category as it grows larger. However, while some potential online content buyers no doubt directed their Q4 2002 spending to more traditional holiday purchases, the 49% year-over-year growth rate for paid content in that quarter still outpaced the overall e-commerce growth rate of 23%* over the same period.
The Personals/Dating category surpassed both Business/Investment and Entertainment/Lifestyles to become the largest paid content category in 2002 with $302 million in revenues, up nearly threefold from $72 million in 2001. Those top three categories -- Personals/Dating, Business/Investment Content and Entertainment/Lifestyles -- accounted for 63% of online content spending in 2002, up from 59% in 2001.
"The year 2002 will go down as the year in which the conventional wisdom about paid online content changed," said Michael Zimbalist, executive director of the Online Publishers Association. "Whether or not consumers will pay for content is no longer a matter of debate. Clearly, they will."
According to the report, the average spending per consumer increased only 4% from Q4 2001 to Q4 2002, indicating that the growth rates in paid content revenue are attributable to additional consumers, rather than additional spending per consumer. The number of U.S. consumers paying for online content in Q4 2002 grew to 14.3 million from 10 million in Q4 2001.
Annual subscriptions continue to be the dominant pricing model, accounting for 41% of online content sales in 2002, vs. 42% in 2001. However, in some categories -- notably Games and General News -- the monthly model remains strong. Micropayments of less than $5 grew 707% year-over-year, but still represented less than 1% of sales, generating only 9.6 million in revenue in 2002, primarily in the General News category.
The top 25 Web destinations by 2002 consumer content revenue are as follows:
Top 25 Web Destinations Ranked by
2002 Consumer Content Revenue
The information contained in the report is based not on self-reported consumer surveys, but on actual observed purchases of content. Using its representative panel of more than 1 million U.S. online consumers, comScore Networks calculated the results by passively and electronically monitoring the actual purchase and usage transactions that took place during the analysis period.
Founded in June 2001, the Online Publishers Association (OPA) is an industry trade organization whose mission is to advance the interests of high-quality online publishers before the advertising community, the press, the government and the public. Members of OPA represent the standards in Internet publishing with respect to editorial quality and integrity, credibility and accountability. OPA member sites have a combined, unduplicated reach of 99.1 million U.S. visitors, or 69% of the total U.S. Internet audience (Source: comScore Media Metrix, January 2003 combined home/work/university data). For more information about the Online Publishers Association, visit www.online-publishers.org.
About comScore Networks
comScore Networks provides unparalleled insight into consumer behavior. This capability is based on a representative cross-section of more than 1.5 million global Internet users who have given comScore explicit permission to confidentially capture their Web-wide browsing, buying and other transaction behavior, including offline purchasing. Through its patent-pending technology, comScore measures what matters across the entire spectrum of surfing and buying behavior. This deep knowledge of customers and competitors helps clients design more powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI. comScore services are used by global leaders such as Microsoft, Kraft, The New York Times Company, Best Buy, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Nestle, Wells Fargo & Company, GlaxoSmithKline, and Orbitz. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com.
* Excludes auctions and travel.
Online Publishers Association
(917) 743-4537 send an email