Just An Online Minute... Content's Online Rebirth
Nielsen//NetRatings also reported this morning that traffic to newspaper Web sites reached 39.3 million unique visitors last month--an 11 percent increase over last year. The total number of U.S. Internet users, meanwhile, grew by only 3 percent in that same time.
As Internet users are increasingly consuming content online, publishers have obliged by making more of it available. Newspapers, magazines and TV stations continue to add to their Web sites. Just this week, for example, Time.com announced it would start hosting Andrew Sullivan's blog; and CBS.com--these days a trove of TV add-ons --this morning announced it would debut a "bonus" scene of "CSI: Miami" online on Monday.
And, of course, Web companies also are upping their offerings, creating original content and repurposing TV shows online. AOL this week announced it would stream dozens of old TV shows on the Web, starting in January, with video ads that visitors can't fast-forward through.
Ironically, as more offline consumers turn to DVRs and other devices that make it easy to skip commercials, the Internet--where consumers used to be able to close ads by clicking on a box--is making it harder to avoid ads.
Whether this model can survive long-term remains to be seen. Perhaps consumers would rather pay for ad-free content--by purchasing DVDs, for example, or paying per download for an ad-less show--than watch programs accompanied by streaming ads online.
In fact, a Burst Media report released this morning states that one in five online users, 19 percent, said in a recent survey they'd probably pay for online movies, concerts, TV or sports shows that they could watch on-demand.
Yet that proportion still represents a minority. For now, it's the prospect of online ads, rather than paying subscribers, that's helping to fuel one of the largest content renaissances in recent memory.