UK less likely to pay for online content

UK consumers are less willing to pay for online content than web users in other countries, according to new research. It spells bad news for publishers looking to boost revenues from the internet.

Accountancy giant KPMG has released a report into consumer behaviour online, which found that 81 per cent of UK web users would go elsewhere for content if a frequently used free site began charging.

Tudor Aw, head of technology at KPMG Europe LLP, said: "UK consumers still haven't come around to the idea of paying for digital content and are clear that they will move to other sites if paywalls are put up." Globally, 43 per cent of consumers are willing to pay to access frequently used content. In the Asia-Pacific region that figure increases to 59 per cent.

This will be troubling news for News International, which has put the wesbites of its UK newspapers The Times and The Sunday Times behind a paywall. According to recent figures compiled by the media website Beehive City, just 15,000 have agreed to pay for access to the website with a further 12,500 paid subscribers on the iPad.

Three-quarters of those in the UK would be willing to receive online advertising in exchange for lower content costs, KPMG's survey found. Of those questioned, 48 per cent would allos information from their profiles on social networks such as Facebook to be tracked online if it resulted in lower costs.

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