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ISPs get sporty

Punters to pay extra for online action

Several UK ISPs will follow the example set by satellite TV channels and introduce pay-per-view sports to their services.

The current strain on the IT market is being felt by many ISPs, which have lost money on unsuccessful internet advertising.

Pay-per-view and subscription services seem to be emerging as the next trend in clawing back profits.

"Premium services are one of the options for increasing revenue that MSN is actively considering," said a press statement released by MSN today.

"When our services are introduced they will only provide a very minimal revenue source anyway," said an MSN spokesperson.

Vodafone and MSN are planning to introduce such services but say they are not sure when they will be introduced.

NTL's pay-per-view football service will be available from next season.

On Tuesday Freeserve started charging users around £1 per day for access to exclusive footage of Lennox Lewis in the countdown to his title fight on Sunday.

But it seems slightly premature to be introducing such services when the majority of the UK does not even have access to broadband internet services.

According to estimates by research company Jupiter only one percent of households will have access to such high-speed service by the end of the year.

"We have the ability to stream highlights at 56Kbps," said Will Robson, marketing director at Premium TV, the company responsible for NTL's new service.

Next, ISPs will have to work out how to prevent content being illegally copied and passed on.

"It is extremely difficult to pirate streamed content," said Robson. "We are working with media partners to ensure [the system] is safe by the time it's released."

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