Online content in Europe to surge

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European revenue from online creative content will leap fourfold over the next four years to €8.3 billion ($10.7 billion), according to a European Commission study.

Online content will represent a significant share of total revenue for some sectors, the study said, claiming about 20% of the music market and 33% of video games.

The surge is credited to the spread of broadband, the rollout of advanced mobile networks and the massive adoption of digital devices.

"The long-awaited digital convergence is becoming an economic reality, creating great opportunities for Europe's consumers, content providers and technology industries," EU Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding said. "To capitalize may require casting a fresh eye at the technical and legal issues where a modernized and internal market-oriented approach would add value to European content."

Some areas, however, will grow even faster, the report said. The film sector could see online revenue swell from €18.7 million in 2006 to €1 billion in 2010, though it would still only be 7% of the total.

The 400-page study says that while the online content market is growing steadily, issues such as intellectual property rights and interoperability must still be addressed.

The EC identified 36 obstacles to the growth of the online content market, including the slow adoption of 3G broadband in Europe, confusing data tariffs, piracy and the cost of digitizing content.
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