Best of BTB: Paying Up Online

Jim JansenSubscription services favored over single file sales; no significant difference in behavior of men and women; a typical monthly “spend” of $10. Those are among the findings of a recent survey of 1000 American internet users by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

Perhaps most surprising – given that so much of online content is “free” or used without permission – is that two of three Americans have paid for music, books and games, among other digital media.

“Our findings were that 18% of Internet users have paid for a newspaper article, journal article, or online report,” Pew senior fellow Jim Jansen told Chris Kenneally at the “Buying & Selling EContent” conference presented by Information Today. “The ability to buy digital content online is critically important to a lot of people, a lot of businesses, a lot of artists and photographers.”

According to Jansen, the most common digital media products purchased are music and software. The average spend was about $47 in a given month, although the typical user spent $10 to $15. In addition to his work for Pew, Jansen teaches at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences & Technology and is recognized as expert in Web searching, sponsored search, and personalization for information searching.

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