During the 90s, the concept of pay per view, or paying a certain amount to watch or obtain a specific content became popular through cable television. By 2000, the pay-per-view cable and satellite industry was securing $1.5 billion per year by charging customers to view certain movies and special events. Believing the Internet would prove a lucrative sales channel for pay-per-view events and content, many firms began utilizing the World Wide Web to broadcast movies and television shows, as well as content, on a pay-per-view basis.
In the late 90s, the development of streaming media allowed radio, television and movies to be viewed and heard on the Internet. Added to this technology were faster internet connections and cable modems, which allowed web surfers to use personal computers to view what had traditionally been available only regular and cable television. Cable station Showtime Networks launched into pay-per-view on the internet in 1999. That year it launched its first event online-a boxing match between Mike Tyson and Orlin Norris.
Other examples of entertainment companies using pay-per-view include Hollywood.com and CinemaNow. They together launched a movie site in 2001, which streamed independent films and allowed Web surfers who paid $2.99 to have access to a movie for 48 hours. At the same time Intertainer.com began offering older television shows on a pay-per-view basis.
Content based websites also use pay-per-view methods. Sites like Wall Street Journal charge viewers to view portions of its online content. USA Today also charges its online readers to access its articles; a customer can view one article for $1.50, view up to ten articles a day for $4.95. Web portal Yahoo! also offers buying guides and product ratings from Consumer Reports.
When selling entertainment or information, many firms utilize this internet pay-per-view system. While few raised questions about the long term viability of selling content via the internet, others thought think the differently. They predict that the Internet will be like cable TV. The same will happen with the internet particularly when better content goes up for sale.