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Americans Like Buying Media on Tablets, Unless It’s News

Published on March 15, 2012

According to Nielsen data, and despite the vast amount of free content available, tablet owners are willing to pay for the media they really want. Nielsen compared the willingness to purchase media content among tablet owners in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Italy and found that Americans are the most likely to pay for all categories of media content but one—news. That likely is because news is free and plentiful: consider CNN.com, MSNBC.com, which charge no premiums for their content, versus outlets like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times online. Only the most dedicated newsies climb the paywalls.

Also true, guesses Ingrid Lunden of TechCrunch, there is a dearth of “free” apps in the European market, and more of a drive to premium subscriptions. Europeans are more accustomed to paying for news.

Other findings by Nielsen:

  • Most U.S. tablet owners have paid for downloaded music (62%) and books (58%) for usage on their device. Approximately half have paid for movies (51%).
  • News is the top content category among the European tablet owners surveyed: 44 percent of tablet owners in Italy, 19 percent of tablet owners in the UK, and 15 percent of tablet owners in Germany say they have paid for tablet news content.
  • Among the European countries, Italians are the most willing to pay for media content on their tablet. “That probably points to fewer instances of “free” apps and more of a drive to premium subscriptions in that market,” guesses Lunden. Italy also outscored Germany and the U.K. in every other category, including music and books, streaming radio and magazines