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Andrew Sissons
Researcher, Big Innovation Centre
T 020 7976 3609

The Big Digital Dilemma

The Big Digital Dilemma

Andrew Sissons
13 September 2011

The internet has changed the way we live, and the way that companies do business. But as well as helping us to order our shopping, it has spawned an economy of its own, a digital economy that takes place solely online, through exchanges of content. 

This digital economy has been one of the most innovative parts of the economy over recent years, with many firms engaged in this industry growing dramatically. But just as the internet has made it possible for new types of business to exist, it has also threatened existing business models. In particular, many firms that invest heavily in content have found it hard to generate revenue from that content, even if users value it very highly. Unless new models can be found that can sustain large-scale investment in content, there is a danger that the digital economy might suffer a gradual degradation of quality over time.

This paper examines this dilemma, and looks at the options for businesses and government to get around this problem.

The internet has given rise to a hugely innovative digital economy, and enabled new businesses to spring up in many areas. However, other businesses, especially those who invest heavily in content, have found it hard to generate revenue from it. This paper explores the options available to content providers in the digital economy.

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