Pew Study Finds 65% of Users Already Paying for Internet Content

Amazon button, representing paying for Internet contentCommon wisdom says that one problem with the Internet is that, because so many things are free, few people are willing to pay for content. This bromide is challenged, however, by a new Pew Internet and American Life Project survey that found that 65% of the Internet users had paid at some time for content.

I certainly am included in that 65%, paying for access to music (Rhapsody), videos (iTunes), news (Wall Street Journal and my local paper), and information (Consumer Reports). The study might be encouraging for businesses attempting to find a new, successful business model, such as the New York Times.
Newspapers and magazines, however, are not the primary recipients of these online purchases; music, software and apps lead the list. Other categories that more than 10% of the respondents had spent money on included newspapers, games, video, ring tones, photos and e-books.

The latest figures from the Audit of Bureau Circulations, however, shows a sharp drop in iPad magazine subscriptions, implying this market is having retention problems.

Surprisingly, considering how heavily it is marketed, only 2% of those surveyed confessed to having bought online porn. Perhaps the embarrassment factor skewed this number.

Of those surveyed, 25% bought into only one of the categories, while 16% spent money in six or more. The typical user who spends money for content spends about $10 a month.

If the Internet becomes a pay business, how much would it be worth to you to have the same access you have today? As much as your cable TV bill? Your house payment? More?
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