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Internet World Focuses on Subscription Services

Techstination feature for Friday, December 14, 2001

How to cure what ails the Internet? The prescription is subscription. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The focus on rebuilding at the just concluded Fall Internet World trade show in New York had a recurring theme... consumers had better get used to paying for online content and services. AOL Time Warner... Co-COO Robert Pittman ...

"The most important consumer relationship is a subscription relationship."

And Pittman says AOL plans to take advantage of its existing subscriber base to get those consumers to subscribe to a wide range of new digital services. Music, video on demand and telephony. AOL Time Warner believes it could be collecting 160 a month or more in subscription fees from wired households in the not too distant future. Not that long ago... the thinking was Web surfers weren't willing to pay for anything. At Real Networks, Rob Glaser says...

"Well I think consumers are willing to pay for content if it is great content at a good value. We now have over 400 thousand retained paid subscribers to what we called our Gold Pass service that we are now calling our RealOne service."

Publications like the Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports and Playboy have been able to coax customers to pay for Web content. At Playboy, CEO Christie Hefner says a hundred thousand people have signed up for the site's CyberClub...

"We've had fifty percent growth in the last year and we have a goal of doubling that number in the next year and believe we can achieve that."

Everyone from Microsoft to your cell phone service company is looking at the same model... getting you to pay for digital services, information and entertainment. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.