Most Americans have paid for online content in some form, according to a new Pew Internet report -- though they aren't spending very much.
According to the report, 65% of Americans have paid for some type of online content. A third of consumers have already paid for digital music online, according to the study, while 19% have paid for games and 16% have paid for videos, movies or TV shows.
But only 46% of consumers have paid for either one or two types of digital content. That means most people are not paying for music, video, books and video games. Instead, they are choosier about the online content they buy.
Few people are spending great sums. A typical consumer spends only $10 per month on all digital content, according to Pew. The average monthly spending for online content buyers is actually $47. As Pew explains it, "some extremely high-end users pull the average higher." So while the average monthly spend is $47, the median monthly spend is probably in the area of $10.
Take a second to soak in that figure. A typical Internet user spends $10 on all digital content each month. Consider that popular Netflix's online-only option is $7 per month. Not much is left over for music, news, ebooks and other content. And consider how unattractive a $10-per-month music subscription service is to the average American if the price is equivalent to a typical person's entire monthly spending for digital content.
This Pew study paints a better picture for online revenue potential than a recent Nielsen report. A Fall 2009 Nielsen study (released in February 2010) covering 52 countries found that 20% of consumers in North America had already paid for music online while 9% had paid for theatrical movies and 15% had paid for games. About 57% of global consumers surveyed indicated they would consider paying for theatrical movies and music online.