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Jupiter, Mondex Highlight U.K. Opportunities for Online Profit

Highlighting growth in the UK home Internet market, both in terms of the number of surfers online and how long they are spending on the Net, Jupiter MMXI reckons that there are significant opportunities to make money in certain key markets.

As the UK home audience now tops 14 million people, according to Jupiter, and the average user was online for seven hours during April of this year, the analysts reckon that there is potential for companies to make money online -- particularly those companies which are active in travel, classified advertising, gambling and adult content. While this might seem like a bit of a no-brainer, it appears that where travel is concerned, e-cash company, Mondex, agrees that the Net could be a money-spinner.

Research instigated by Mondex reveals that the U.K. consumer is prepared to pay for certain online services (albeit not very much), with travel advice coming high on the list of potential revenue-drivers. According to Alison Greensmith, Mondex' Head of Business Development, "The typical Internet user conducts 19 online sessions a month and is ready to pay 63p per session".

Adding up the fact that those surveyed were prepared to pay for the privelege of receiving financial information, pre-paid mobile airtime via the Net, gaming, travel advice, music downloads and even search engine usage, Mondex reckons that there is an additional #2.6 billion a month in revenue in the country that companies could target.

Jupiter places a similar yearly value on the travel market, predicting its growth to #2.7 billion by 2005, but some other figures from the company suggest that -- at least for the time being -- these figures might be slightly optimistic.

According to Jupiter, only 20 percent of the online population -- which it terms Heavy Users (those who spend more than 10 hours online per month) -- accounts for 70 percent of the total time spent online by the U.K. home Net population. This suggests that these heavy users are also likely to have to shoulder the greater proportion of online spending, with most of the population not actually making many purchases or micro-payments. It seems doubtful that the top 20 percent of surfers also account for 70 percent of the country's GDP...

Beyond this point, however, it seems difficult to disagree with the sentiments of both companies that there are under-exploited opportunities to make money from the Net.

As Daniela Weiss, U.K. managing director of Jupiter MMXI puts it, "With more people spending more time online, our data and analysis shows that there are real opportunities for companies to profit from the web. Businesses need to understand which approaches work best, and to learn from the experiences of other players to maximise their successes."