Archive for September, 2009

Web users prefer subscriptions to micropayments, reveals poll

September 23, 2009

Web users prefer subscriptions to micropayments, reveals poll

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Yesterday, we revealed how, if their favourite news site started charging for content, just 5% of Brits would pay. So exactly how would users prefer to cough up their cash?

Day two in our exclusive paidContent:UK/Harris Interactive poll shows that a long-term subscription, and not micropayments, is by far the most attractive option to consumers

(Return to paidContent:UK on Wednesday and Thursday to learn readers’ all-important favoured pricepoint and more).

We asked users who read a news site at least once a month what their favoured option would be if they either chose to pay for their favourite site or were forced to pay by all news sites going pay-for:

Per-article fees (ie. micropayments) are the favourite option for 21%.

A day pass giving unlimited articles within a 24-hour period is favoured by 26%.

• But a subscription of up to a year is the most desired model, supported by 53%.

The findings may surprise advocates of what are often called “iTunes-style” “micro” payments – an ironic description since, while App Store downloads are blissfully effortless, its pay-for apps, which come at a minimum £0.59, are far from micro in price.

Annual subscriptions are already commonplace amongst B2B magazines and business newspapers like and In music, Spotify operates a £120 annual membership as well as its £9.99-a-month and £0.99-a-day tiers. And many consumers are used to paying monthly for TV services like BSkyB (NYSE: BSY), and home utilities.

No matter what the price, any model that asks readers to pay once (or only occasionally) is likely to be far less complex and more workable than a system requiring transactions for every individual piece of content. But, while certain specialist publishers should prove able to sell their unique content in this way, we at paidContent:UK remain uncertain that mass-market newspapers, whose content has long been free online, can successfully attract paying customers through any of these models if they do not differentiate or offer significant value-adds.

“There’s been a lot of buzz about micro-payment recently, and some prominent players, like Google (NSDQ: GOOG), have moved into this field” commented Andrew Freeman, a Senior Consultant with Harris Interactive’s Technology Media and Telecoms team. “But there are massive challenges: and not just technical ones.

“From a simple business point of view, micropayments are disproportionately expensive to administer,” Andrew Freeman, Harris’ senior consultant for technology, media and telecoms, tells us. “Until you have an enormous volume and value, it just won’t be worthwhile.

“If consumers are going to give up their preference for single-subscription payments they can more easily check and monitor, they will need to have real confidence and trust in the brands they use. Micropayments will probably benefit only the very largest of companies.”

Let’s go in to more detail…

Gender: men prefer a long-term relationship:…
• Men are more likely to prefer the subscriptions of up to a year.
• That’s while women are more likely to favour per-day and per-article charges.

Age: oldies the biggest micropayment fans
• Pre-mid-lifers (35-44s) know their mind – they are most in favour of subscriptions and least receptive to micropayments.
• Those aged 45-54 are twice as receptive towards day passes than those 55-to-64.
• 55-to-65s are the biggest exponents of per-article fees.

Class: the better-off would pay in advance
• No surprise there – upper-middle and middle-class folk are the biggest exponents of advance subscriptions.
• But those on lower incomes are more receptive to paying per-article.

Regions: wide variations
• Annual subs would be best received in the east of England.
• But Wales is easily the least receptive to advance payments, and is the only region that would rather pay per day.

Methodology: Harris Interactive surveyed 1,188 adults (aged 16-64) online within the UK between August 26 and September 2, 2009. Figures for age, sex, education, region and internet usage were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. See raw data.

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3D upgrades made cheap for consumers

September 23, 2009


3D upgrades made cheap for consumers
Trioscopics suitable for existing broadcast TV

One indication that 3D has caught hold commercially is the emergence of alternative methods for delivering 3D to consumers without expensive hardware upgrades.

Following Technicolor’s formal unveiling yesterday of their method for showing 3D from standard 35mm release prints, today veteran technologist John Lowry demonstrated an improved anaglyph method for 3D.

Monickered Trioscopics, the system that can work on any existing digital theater or TV screen, is suitable for existing broadcast TV. It uses a green-magenta glasses, a different color combination from previous anaglyph systems, and delivers better color and clarity than most anaglyph systems.

Lowry demonstated the system with throwaway plastic glasses from American Paper Optics and HD clips from “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “My Bloody Valentine” and “Coraline” that had been converted within a matter of days.

Noting that “anaglyph is a bad word” in the 3D community, Lowry said “We may not be perfect yet,” said Lowry, “but we can open markets and help studios make a lot of money today. We will be the cost-effective solution for broadening the 3D base.”

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Online ad spending to grow to 15%

September 23, 2009


Online ad spending to grow to 15%
2010 to see increase from 13%


In another sign that marketers are devoting more of their ad dollars to the Internet, online advertising is expected to account for 15% of global ad spending in 2010, up from 13% this year, according to media buying agency GroupM.

In a new study covering 36 countries, the firm says it expects nearly $65 billion to be spent globally in online ads next year. Online ads made up 3.1% of global ad buys in 2001.

In the U.S., digital ads will grab 17% of total spending next year, or $24.5 billion, compared to 15.4% this year and 13.9% in 2008.

Many of those dollars will come in the form of search, video and mobile ads, while display ads will decline as supply has run ahead of demand. Display ads will account for 34% of online marketing buys in 2010, while search will rep 43%.

“Today, search remains a key driver of digital marketing as advertisers compete to capture a disproportionate share that search behavior represents,” said Rob Norman, CEO of GroupM Interaction.

Spending on mobile ads will reach 6%, or $3.3 billion, up from $2.4 billion in 2008.

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