Online Media to Earn $2 Billion by 2006

A new forecast from Ireland’s Research and Markets predicts the worldwide market for downloadable and streaming media will reach $1.38 billion in 2005, and climb to $2 billion in 2006. The report offers a details look at the business and revenue models of streaming and download services in the areas of music, sports, news, entertainment (including downloadable movies), plus subscription services, including those offered through service operators Apple, Yahoo, Napster, Emusic, Real Networks, and AOL, as well as content providers such as CNN, Major League Baseball, the NFL and NBA, NASCAR, and service operators like StarzTicket and Movielink.

The report, which looks at online media revenue and market share numbers beginning in 2003, notes that music is by far the largest content category and has experienced the strongest growth in download and subscription revenue, including a 397 percent growth spurt in 2004 (no doubt attributable in part to the success of Apple’s iPod and iTunes Music Store), with a smaller but still-noteworthy 154 percent increase predicted for 2005. The overall market growth seems to be slowing however: downloadable and streaming media revenue grew by 150 percent from 2003 to 2004, 109 percent from 2004 to 2005, and is estimated to grow by 45 percent in 2006.

For 2005, the download side of the business accounts for more than 60 percent of the market revenue at $832 million, with streaming subscriptions currently valued at $237 million, or roughly 17 percent of the market.