Sales of content management software are projected to reach US$3 billion in 2004 as more traditional brick-and-mortar firms integrate their businesses with the Internet and more content-rich applications are used on Web sites. According to a new report from research firm the Yankee Group, that figure represents an average annual growth rate of 35 per cent from the US$900 million in total sales content management software vendors posted last year. While content management systems were initially targeted at media companies seeking to move their content onto the Web, traditional brick-and-mortar companies are now adopting them as well, as they integrate the Internet into their business strategy. These new buyers recognise the need for a solid infrastructure to support their Web initiatives and see the value in connecting content creators and Web technicians. 'The increasing integration of the Internet into the business of all companies has placed great burdens on the technical staff responsible for Web sites,' said Rob Perry, a senior analyst for the Yankee Group's Internet computing strategies research and consulting practice. 'Leading technology companies are using content management systems to spread this responsibility across teams that can now create better Web sites more quickly and cost-effectively.' Web content includes all types of text, images, audio and video graphic files that Web site administrators must keep track of on Web servers for use with such applications as dynamic links and personalisation for e-commerce. Practically non-existent in 1995, the Web content management software market has now become a very competitive arena that pits top vendors like Interwoven, Broadvision and Vignette. Interwoven software, for example, was recently tapped by Singapore Airlines (SIA) to drive Web content across the airline's Web site, which receives more than 17,000 visits on peak days and approximately 4.4 million page views each month. SIA expects the software product's workflow, templating and scalability to significantly streamline content delivery and provide 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week information to its customers as the Web site expands and offers new services. The Yankee Group noted, however, that the value of content management systems goes beyond the efficiency gains from co-ordinating resources. It said Web applications were becoming increasingly sophisticated, providing enhanced service by creating personal connections with visitors and users, which ultimately resulted in growth of the company's revenues. Content management systems are also to provide for the categorisation and classification that personalisation tools use to match users and content. 'The combination of rich content and application logic is the key to creating compelling and successful Web sites,' Mr Perry said. 'The growth in the sales of content management systems is proof that companies recognise that effective content management is a critical part of the development and ongoing management of Internet applications.' Internet research firm Forrester Research had earlier reported that Web sites would be forced to diversify products and services as personal rich media becomes mainstream. Consumer electronics vendors are fuelling consumer adoption of personal rich media by creating products and services that make it easy for consumers to create and share their own multimedia content with a minimal commitment of time and energy. Camera companies are producing digital cameras and camcorders that make uploading images to personal computers and Web sites quick and easy. Sites are offering services like digitization of 35-millimetre film, online photo storage and tools that let consumers easily create and share photo albums and slide shows. According to Forrester, Web sites will be forced to diversify products and services. Sites will need to accommodate consumers at every stage of their voyage - from the novice looking for predefined content to the expert seeking out online tools. As consumers create greater volumes of personal rich media, they will require Web content management tools to rein in their resources and their increased need for digital storage.