Dilemma: Consumers Using More Media, Paying Less For It

Here’s a critical, defining problem for media owners – despite consuming more and more content thanks to digital choices, consumers are significantly cutting back what they spend on that content.

Average monthly consumer spend on digital media, in particular, has halved in the last six months, says KPMG’s important Media & Entertainment Barometer.

Traditional media: up from 11 hours 40 minutes to 12 hours 13 minutes per month.
Digital media: up from 6 hours 14 minutes to 7 hours 28 minutes.

Traditional media: down from £9.19 to £7.46 per month.
Digital media: down from £1.99 to £0.98.

The findings suggest users are increasingly filling their media diet with free alternatives to commercial sources.

It’s not as if there’s no demand for online news – average user time on those sites increased from 5.5 hours per month in September to 6.6 hours in March. But, worryingly for the many publishers considering a paid strategy, there’s a specific, growing trend away from paying for online news.

— Newspapers: 21 percent spent nothing on a newspaper in March (up from 15 percent in September).
Online news: 88 percent pay nothing (up from 84 percent).
— Magazines: 19 percent pay nothing (up from 12 percent).

— Only 10 percent of non-subscribers are considering subscription over the next year.
These people are most likely to pay for music (55 percent), movies (45 percent), online newspapers/magazines (31 percent) and TV (30 percent).
— 16-24s are most likely to pay.

Nearly two thirds of people said they were consuming more content than previously because of online access. But people still prefer disconnecting – 43 percent favour offline access, 31 percent didn’t mind either way, only a quarter say they prefer online.

When asked why they favour online, most of that quarter (93 percent) explained it’s because of on-demand availability, because they can get it for free online (80 percent) and because the web is so convenient since they already spend so much time at the screen (73 percent).

Methodology: Research conducted by YouGov, sampling 1,037 people in September and 1.034 people in March, aged 16 and over.