Friday, February 19, 2010

What Kinds of Online Content Will Consumers Pay For?

Consumer willingness to pay for online content seems to be shaped by their current experience with existing media.

Online content for which consumers are most likely to pay—or have already paid—are those they normally pay for offline, including theatrical movies, music, games and select videos such as current television shows, a new survey by Nielsen suggests.

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Content users might pay for tends to be professionally produced, at comparatively high costs, and definitely not user-generated content, including social community content, podcasts, consumer-generated videos and blogs.

Respondents had mixed willingness to pay for newspaper, magazine, Internet-only news  and radio news and talk shows that are created by professionals, relatively expensive to produce and commonly sold offline.

After surveying 27,000 consumers in 52 countries, Nielsen also found 85 percent prefer that existing free content remains free.

Whatever their preferences, consumers worldwide generally agree that online content will have to meet certain criteria before they shell out money to access it. If respondents already pay for a product in physical form, 78 percent believe they should be able to use online versions of the same content at no additional charge.

At the same time, 71 percent of global consumers say online content of any kind will have to be considerably better than what is currently available free before they will pay for it.

About 79 percent say they would no longer use a Web site that charges them, presuming they can find the same information at no cost.

 Only 43 percent of respondents say an easy payment method would make them more likely to buy content online.

About  47 percent of respondents say they are willing to accept more advertising to subsidize free content. Some 64 percent say that if they must pay for content online, there should be no ads.

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