Have Viewers Become More Willing to Pay for Content?

15/12/11
In a world of evolving consumer behaviours, the future of content monetisation is becoming a hot topic.

With a generation that has grown up in an era of “free” and “freemium”, there are fears that viewers will stop paying for content.

But despite all the gloomy predictions, there are signs that groups of viewers are actually becoming more willing to pay for content.  Netflix lost a million subscribers when it raised its price by 60%.  However, that still means that 24 million people are paying for the service.  Is this a sign that most viewers are actually willing to pay if given the option?

In the USA recent findings from the research and consulting firm Magid Advisors show that iTunes has gone a long way towards changing people’s attitudes towards paid digital content.

According to their results, the group most likely to buy paid online content is 25-to-34-year-olds. However they also point out that “many older people, particularly middle-age women, are also big buyers of movies, shows and games.”

So how can more viewers be encouraged to pay for content?

1.     Control
New consumer research from Red Bee showed that UK viewers are prepared to pay for content if they have more control over what they’re buying. 63% think they will spend the same on TV in the future, and 20% think they’ll spend more.
2.     Accessibility
Red Bee Media’s consumer research also indicated that accessibility to content helps discourage piracy and encourage payment. 46% of respondents thought that illegal downloads would be greatly reduced if it was possible to pay to watch new TV series from other countries without having to wait for a UK release date.
3.     TV Everywhere
Dana Chin argues that the device comes first when paying for content.  With the current wealth of content available, what people want is a way to organise, access, and store their favourite videos on the device they already own.

This reinforces the case for TV Everywhere strategies that are seeing increasing take-up in the USA.  Cable channels like HBO and AMC and the broadcaster Fox have all been moving toward restricting online content access to pay-TV subscribers.

What encourages viewers to pay for content? What business models do you think will be most successful?

Emma Wells, Marketing Manager