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Film legends, frayed photos are Net gold mines

Owners of archived films, photos, books and old TV shows may want to loosen their grip on some of their aging treasures.

Owners of archived films, photos, books and old TV shows may want to loosen their grip on some of their aging treasures.

There's a growing demand for archived content to be made available over the Internet, to the tune of $2.2 billion this year, said Web research firm Jupiter Media Metrix. The market could triple in the next five years, Jupiter predicts.

Everyone from advertising companies that need stock film footage of Marilyn Monroe to media firms looking for old news clippings on President George W. Bush will pay for archived content. But archive owners will only grab about 73 percent of the market, Jupiter said, because most consumers elect to market and distribute the materials themselves instead of through "third-party audience aggregators."

About 66 percent of the archived content owners polled by Jupiter said that they wish to market their own goods. By doing so, they face formidable obstacles: Sellers must educate potential customers on what materials exist, where the content is, and who owns the rights to it. The costs are too high for most companies to do it alone, Jupiter said.

"The archive owners must align with partners who already have sizable online audiences or who are taking steps to develop unique new content services online," Jupiter analyst Robert Hertzberg said in a statement.

Jupiter predicts that news and information companies will "drive the greatest amount...of revenue through the Internet."