More than 50% of consumers ready to pay for media, WEF report says

More than a half of readers would be willing to pay for news in the future, according to the WEF report. [Andrey Popov/Shutterstock]

Some 53% of consumers are willing to pay for news in the future and as many as 70% for entertainment, according to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), published on Thursday (2 April).

According to the Understanding Value in Media: Perspectives from Consumers and Industry report, the proportion of people saying they would be willing to pay for media in the future is considerably greater than the proportion of people who currently pay.

The results showed that 53% would be willing to pay in the future for news, up from 16% who do it today, and 70% are willing to pay for entertainment, up from 44% today.

“With the value of content growing, the industry needs financial models that enable them to fulfil their social functions while still supporting widespread access to critical content”, said Kirstine Stewart, head of platform for shaping the future of media, entertainment and culture, and member of WEF’s executive committee.

The report also highlighted the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic on the media, as it will “disrupt programming, advertising, sponsorship deals and promotional events”, while on a more positive note, “the increase in consumption due to self-isolation and quarantine has boosted demand for media”.

In a country analysis, the report shows that 23% of German consumers are most likely to pay for music/radio subscriptions in the next year. This is followed by video (21%), sports (15%), news (14%) and gaming (13%).

In the United Kingdom, 28% of the consumers are most likely to pay for sports subscriptions, followed by music/radio (26%), video (25%), news (20%) and gaming (19%).

The research is based on a survey, conducted for the Forum by Nielsen between early October and late November 2019, which canvassed more than 9,100 people in China, Germany, India, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States about their media consumption and payment habits and preferences.

 Funding production of content

The findings also show that, across countries, young people (16-34) are more likely to pay for content. An average, 61% currently pay for entertainment and 17% for news – figures that are in both cases above the global averages in the general population.

A socioeconomic breakdown shows a greater presence of paid news subscriptions among higher income or higher status individuals.

Between 80% and 90% of consumers spend 24 hours reading, watching or listening to news and entertainment per week.

Regarding the funding production of content, on average, 55% of the consumers are aware that advertising can subsidise content creation.

“Yet almost half of respondents skip adverts whenever possible and almost three in four make efforts to reduce their exposure to it”, the report said. The survey results suggest that consumers expect governments to take a bigger role in supporting access to news than entertainment: 35% versus 18%, respectively.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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