Report: EU ready for major digital growth

Digital economy expected to grow up to 18% a year

BRUSSELS -- Europe's digital economy will grow by up to 18% a year and could be worth $640 billion by 2012, according to a study published Wednesday.

However, the sharp growth can only be assured if Europe's content, advertising and access industries take action to sustain consumer confidence, the report said.

Written by management consultants Booz & Co. and commissioned by Liberty Global, the report says that broadcasters and other industry players need to build consumer "digital confidence" through such measures as protecting technology platforms, ensuring connectivity and tackling piracy and theft of copyrighted content.

This is critical, as the next phase of market growth will shift from the business of selling broadband connections to more advanced services such as content and advertising. It means future growth will rely heavily on users boosting their usage of new services as well as their online spend rather than penetrating households with new technologies.

The report concludes that successful implementation of "digital confidence" could generate addition sales of 11%, or $68 billion. But 18%, or $115 billion, would be at stake if the measures fail.