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Who's Paying for Content? And What Are They Buying?: The Newest Pew Internet Research Report

by Verónica Jarski  |  
December 30, 2010

Do you offer online content for a fee? Want to know the skinny on people who buy content online? If so, you'll be interested in the recent findings from the brand-new Pew Internet Research report, "Paying for Content."

Fresh off the digital presses, the report was published this morning. A total of 755 Internet users were asked about 15 different kinds of online material that could be purchased or accessed after a payment. The biggest news: "Sixty-five percent of Internet users have paid to access or download some kind of digital content." At 33%, digital music and software are the most popular categories for purchases. And 21% have paid for apps for their cell phones or tablet computers. The least amount of purchases were for adult content (2%) and online dating services and sites (5%).

Other interesting facts about Internet users who purchase online content:

  • About the same percentages of men and women pay for online content (except software, which online men are more likely to purchase than online women).

  • Online purchasing is color-blind. Whites and non-whites are equally likely to purchase most forms of online content.

  • The more educated the Internet user is, the more likely that person is to purchase online content.

  • The older the online person, however, the less likely he or she is to purchase content. Internet users ages 18 to 29 and 30 to 40 are more likely to buy online than folks 50 to 64 or older than 65.

  • Internet users who live in high-income bracket households are more likely to pay for various kinds of content than those who live in lower-income brackets.

So what do all these percentages mean for you? According to the Pew Internet Project, "The issue of people's willingness to pay for online material has enormous implications for media companies, artistic creators, and others who are hoping to sustain themselves---or grow new businesses---by raising revenue through online purchases."

In other words, all signs point to a better days for businesses who know how to capitalize on the growing trend for online purchases. Do you?

For more details, check out the complete report.

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Veronica Jarski is the Opinions editor and a senior writer at MarketingProfs. She can be reached at

Twitter: @Veronica_Jarski

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  • by JOsh GOrdon Wed Jan 5, 2011 via blog

    Maybe not so surprising.

  • by Wed Jan 5, 2011 via blog

    Captain Obvious strike again!
    "Internet users who live in high-income bracket households are more likely to pay for various kinds of content than those who live in lower-income brackets."

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