March 28, 2011

People Actually Do Pay for Online Content

On March 28, 2011, Senior Fellow Jim Jansen gave the opening keynote address at Buying & Selling eContent 2011, held March 28-30 in Scottsdale, AR. An abstract for his talk, titled “People Actually Do Pay for Online Content,” is as follows:

The issue of people’s willingness to pay for online material has enormous implications for media companies, artistic creators, and others who are aiming to sustain themselves, or grow new businesses, by raising revenues through online purchases. In order to address this issue within a broad understanding of people’s purchasing habits, we conducted a national survey asking about 16 types of online content, method of access, and payments. The survey data are from telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,003 adults living in the continental U.S., 755 of whom are internet users. Findings show that 65% of U.S. internet users report purchasing online content. Music, software, and apps are the most popular content that internet users have paid to access or download, although the range of paid online content is quite varied and widespread. The typical buyer spends about $10 per month for online content. Possible contextual factors are discussed as well as implications.