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Report says e-commerce still untapped channel for content providers

Published on .

Manchester, Mass.—E-commerce represents a vast, untapped reservoir of new customers for content providers, according to a study released Monday by market analytics company Outsell Inc. and ECNext.

The two companies, which analyzed 24,970 online content purchases from December 2004 to June 2005, found that while executives across all titles are buying content via the Web, those at the highest levels of an organization are the predominant customers.

What's more, all publishers contacted said that no matter what the sales performance of the Web channel, it doesn't cause "cannibalism" of higher-end sales.

The study also found that an unexpected benefit of the Web is the ability to sell content that is older than 12 months to 18 months: 32% of sales Outsell analyzed from December 2004 through June 2005 were of content created before 2004.

—Matthew Schwartz

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