Program market to be worth $362 mil

The U.K. market for online TV will be worth £181 million ($362 million) by 2011 — but the growth of movie downloads is expected to be much slower.

These are the findings of a survey by Screen Digest, which forecasts that music will continue to dominate U.K. online distribution in the immediate future. This is predicted to grow from last year’s $90 million to $571.2 million by 2011, when Screen Digest estimates that 191 million singles and 21 million albums will be downloaded.

Despite a slow start, the online TV market is expected to generate annual revenues of $362 million in Blighty by 2011.

In the U.K., online TV sales are in their infancy but it is forecast that as more services launch online, TV will become an increasingly popular way to catch up on soaps, dramas and reality skeins — and for auds to preview their favorite shows.

Arash Amel, senior analyst for Screen Digest, said: “Broadcasters and pay TV operators will come under increasing pressure from many major ‘virtual networks,’ such as YouTube and Joost, who will be competing for viewers’ time and attention.

“This will be exacerbated by hardware manufacturers, such as Apple, Microsoft and Sony, who will be far more adept at selling TV shows because of their existing device relationships with the consumer.”

Online movies will grow more slowly because Screen Digest believes that consumers are reluctant to watch three-hour-long pics on their PCs, preferring to enjoy them on their plasma screens and home entertainment systems.

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