Porn dominates online sales in Europe, US

Porn dominates online sales in Europe, US

"Adult content" made up 69 per cent of the $US1.4 billion online consumer market in Western Europe and the US in 1998, with 84 per cent of all paid-content revenues going to US-based sites, according to a new study.

Adult content was defined as "sites with adult pornographic content", including editorials, pictures, live or pay-on-demand videos, and all other services related to them, including live chat. The figures do not take into account electronic commerce, including sales of products or merchandise, said Datamonitor PLC, which published the report.

Just under $1 billion was spent on adult content alone in the US and Western Europe, with an additional $61 million being spent on games, $25 million on sports, $8 million on music, and $340 million on others, according to the report.

Adult content is set to top $3.1 billion of the $5.4 billion online-content industry by 2003, while other areas still stay well below the $1 billion mark, according to the report.

In 1998, US-based sites took in $1.2 billion, or 84 per cent of the total paid content revenues from US and European customers. Not only does the US have the largest number of online households, increasing demand for content, but 70 per cent of global Internet users speak English as their first language. The combination of the two means English-language sites, which are predominantly based in the US, generate the most revenue, according to the report.

In Europe, UK-based sites dominated the market in 1998, making up 7 per cent of the total amount of paid content revenues worldwide, while France and Germany each accounted for 3 per cent of the market. The remainder of Western Europe combined only makes up for an additional 3 per cent of the market.

Although Europe has lagged behind the US in the development of paid online content, many large European sites said they were either in the planning process for, or are about to implement, paid content services, according to the Datamonitor report.

In 2003, the UK will take in 42 per cent of European revenues, but German content will also grow at average annual rates of 42 per cent between 1998 and 2003.

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