When I first saw this report I was pretty surprised. By the title alone I was thinking about content in a content marketing manner. Either I was thinking about paid content in a far too narrow manner (paid subscriptions for newspapers etc etc) or Pew is looking at it too broadly. I think it’s a little of both.
In the overview the Pew survey says
Music, software, and apps are the most popular content that internet users have paid to access or download, although the range of paid online content is quite varied and widespread.
Personally, I don’t usually include music, software and apps as content. While I am not quite sure what to call them exactly (products?), I still have trouble considering these as content in the way we as Internet marketers usually think about it. When you get to the kinds of content we are familiar with, unfortunately the numbers do get familiar as in they aren’t real good.
Other forms of content perform even worse.
So what is the future of paid content on the web? Do we need to expand the definition to make it look more interesting or do we have to settle in the realization that not many people will currently buy content online and those that are more likely to (higher income earners) narrow the potential field even further?