Paywall resistance is slowly melting away from the psyche of online consumers as corroborated by a recent digital media professionals survey by Digicareers (April 2012). Paywalls were earlier perceived as deterrents for user traffic on websites. It was believed that as soon as users encountered a paywall, they were most likely to leave the site immediately. But the Digicareers report shows a different reality. According to the survey, although a little more than half the users take the exit route, a considerable part (42% respondents) actually explore and reflect on making a purchase decision seriously.
Of the people surveyed, 42% said that they understood that paywalls were essential for companies that provide high quality or premium content. Since more and more people are accepting the importance of valuable information available on the Internet, they are prepared to spend a few extra bucks because they feel that the quality is worth the cost.
The report also suggested that out of those willing to pay, 90% of the respondents expected to view a free sample of the content before settling on a decision for paid access. Moreover, people were not averse to relevant ads anymore, especially if it helped them in keeping their costs low.
These findings can help publishers obtain insights into the impending paradigm shift in online user preferences. Websites with paid content can smell success, since the gates are open for a plethora of opportunities to convert their website’s casual visitors into paying customers.
Another study, conducted by Accenture in March 2012, pointed to the fact that online users are also prepared to shell out the cash if they can gain access to premium content, such as new movie releases.
Evidently, the most dominant segment for paywall success is entertainment driven digital media content. It is a path breaking revelation, which negates the previously held notions about paywalls acting as deterrents to the brand image of websites. We now know that paywalls allow websites to position their services in a more suitable context with respect to the broadening consumer mindset.