Advertising revenue key in mobile future

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LONDON -- The appetite for watching content on computers, handhelds, games consoles and cell phones is growing, but no one wants to pay for what they access, according to a report published Monday.

Compiled by big-time researcher YouGov for legal eagles Olswang, the Olswang Convergence Consumer Survey states that consumers are unwilling to pay for the stuff they see, causing "new challenges" for broadcasters, rights-holders and service providers keen to target these consumers.

But there is hope -- advertising. According to the survey, raising revenue streams from ads is the natural alternative to payment by consumers. The study shows that people are "willing to tolerate online advertisements which they would normally go out of their way to avoid," but only if the content is free.

The report also provides a warning to content providers. Consumers are willing "to deliberately break the law to secure free content," the findings show, while others simply don't understand the law.

The survey says that copyright owners "face an uphill battle" to convince consumers that rules on transferring content between devices are fair.

For the moment, free user-generated content is the most popular content downloaded, but there is "a clear difference between what is popular now and what would be popular if all content was free."

The report also predicts that, as consumers cough up for downloads, other forms of entertainment spending will drop with DVD rental and pay TV being the most obvious candidates.

Olswang, in conjunction with YouGov, conducted an independent survey of more than 1,539 18- to 55-year-old British consumers and an additional 254 13- to 17-year-olds.
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