Web 2.0: What Will The Monetization Models Of The Future Be?

In a survey sponsored by technology consulting firm Accenture, 110 senior executives across the U.S. and Europe expressed their views on how the growth of user-generated content, such as amateur digital videos, podcasts, wikis and blogs, will impact the film, advertising, music, publishing, radio and TV industries.

Only 3 percent of the executives surveyed think the use of social media is a fad that will pass in time, while more than two-thirds think current usage is likely to grow.

And while two-thirds are positive their organizations will find ways of making money out of user-generated content within three years, just under a quarter said they have no idea how this will be accomplished.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see where the Web is going. Web 2.0 has been on everyone’s lips the last couple of years. It will be the talk of the Web for the next five at least. The big question is how will companies make money from it now that everyone has figured out how to profit from Web pages and current monetization models.

I think the monetization methods of future technologies will be as diverse as the Web itself. There will still be PPC, affiliate programs, banner ads, and other models that have grown popular, but there will likely be some new additions as well.

For instance, what about media companies that produce full-length films that can be downloaded for free and watched on home computers, PDAs and other personal technologies. Those videos could be produced and bankrolled by advertisers who sponsor them. The ads could appear on the web pages alongside the media downloads or be embedded within them as product placements, pre-load advertisers, or even post-load or mid-load interruptions. Remember the old mid-clip bathroom breaks? They could make a comeback.

People who are annoyed by such advertising can just fast forward right through them. Others can stick around and watch.

Such downloads could be funded entirely by pay-per-watch models. For instance, if I see a movie I want to watch I could download it and watch it for $2 or $3, less expensive than renting a movie from Blockbuster and more convenient. Furthermore, I could join a club and pay a monthly fee to watch as many movies as I want, much like Netflix does, only I won’t have to mail the movie back.

Making money off these technologies won’t be as big a problem for the music and movies industries as it might be for other industries. What about businesses like plumbers and electricians, convenient stores, oil exploration companies, widget manufacturers, and others that don’t rely on publishing and production models and distribution channels. I’m not sure how they will make their money, but if you’re wondering how to tap into the monetization potential of Web 2.0, just use your imagination. It’s only a matter of time before some genius will figure it out and everyone will be following his lead.

One thing is for sure, though. Even with future technologies, SEO will be a tool you will not want to forget.

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