Online market for films, TV to hit $6.3 billion

LONDON — Revenue from legitimate online TV and film downloads worldwide will rise tenfold to $6.3 billion by 2012.

The U.S. will account for 65% of this amount, according to a report published by Informa. Stateside sum will rise from $538 million in 2006 to $3.9 billion in 2012.

Growth in the U.K. is expected to climb from $42 million in 2006 to $708 million in 2012.

Increased broadband penetration and changing consumer habits will fuel the rising popularity of Web downloads.

“These trends are now so pronounced that the term ‘social revolution’ no longer seems too much of an exaggeration,” said Adam Thomas, media research manager at Informa. “With social change occurring on such a large scale, traditional media companies are being forced to change their behavior and business models to adapt their offering to consumer demand.”

Broadband penetration is expected to move fastest in Asia, with 91% of Japanese households and 81% of South Korean households hooked up by 2012.

Penetration in the U.K. and U.S. is expected to reach 79% and 76%, respectively, by 2012.

U.K. broadcasters are experimenting with Web TV launches. Raunchy Brit teen comedy “Skins” bowed well Thursday on Channel 4’s digital web E4, even though the first episode had already been broadcast online in four segments on social networking site MySpace. It attracted 1.4 million viewers, the highest-rated Channel 4 commission in terms of viewing figures outside the “Big Brother” franchise.

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