Report: Consumers More Willing to Pay for Online Content

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By: Mike Shields

Users are increasingly electing to fork over cash to access online content, and more often they are doing so for entertainment purposes.

Consumer spending for online content in the United States grew by 14% to $1.8 billion in 2004, according to a new report released Thursday by the Online Publishers Association, in conjunction with comScore MediaMetrix

The growth in 2004 was driven largely by the Entertainment/Lifestyles category, which soared by 90% to $413.5 million.

Yet the Online Personals/Dating was once again the leading category in 2004, with spending reaching an all-time high of $469.5 million for the year, up 4% over 2003.

Despite these signs of healthy growth, users who pay for content online are still a minority. According to the report, 19 million U.S. consumers paid for online content in Q4 2004, up 2.6 million versus 2003 but representing only 11.6% of the online population.

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