Home Yes, Finds Pew Study, People Will (and Do) Pay For Digital Content

Yes, Finds Pew Study, People Will (and Do) Pay For Digital Content

For a long time – right or wrong – content on the Internet has been synonymous with “free.” Free music. Free videos. Free access to your local newspaper. Free blogs. And so some have worried that people might be reluctant to actually spend money to buy digital content if they can already find it (or something similar) online without having to pay. But a new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project should assuage some of those fears. In fact, almost two-thirds of Internet users have paid for digital content.

In a survey of 755 Internet users this fall, Pew found that 65% have paid to download or access some kind of online content from the Internet. The purchased material ranged widely -from music to games to news articles, with music, software and apps being the most popular. The survey looked at “intangible” objects – digital content that needn’t have a physical form – not at “tangible” goods and services that people can buy online.

33% of those surveyed had purchased music online, and the same percentage had purchased software. 21% had purchased apps for their mobile devices. And 19% had purchased games. 18% said they’d paid for digital magazines or newspapers. And 16% said they’d paid for videos or movies. Only 10% say they’ve purchased e-books. The Pew survey asked about 15 different content types all told, and found that people’s digital consumption habits were varied, with 6% of respondents saying they bought content not included in the Pew’s list of 15.

According to the survey, most people who buy digital content online spend about $10 per month, but the average is higher: $47 per month, including both subscriptions (an average of $12 per month) and individual file access ($22 per month). In order to access this content, 23% turn to subscription services while 16% download the file and 8% stream it.

This is the first year that Pew has conducted this particular survey, so there isn’t any historical data to see how online purchasing may be trending. But the news seems to be good for those who want to charge for digital content, provided, so it seems, that it costs less than 10 bucks.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.