If you were planning to make money by selling online content, hold on. A new
survey by Nielsen reveals that 90% of the Indians want free content on the
Internet to remain free in the future. Dont lose heart though. This survey also
gives some feedback on what content creators and content vendors need to do, if
they want to make money from this business.
The one overwhelming (three-fourth) feedback of the respondents is that they
would not mind paying if the quality of content is significantly better than
what is being currently offered today. And a good 70% will pay if they can copy
the content and share it with others. About 69% would prefer to pay just for the
information they want rather than the entire stuff.
Unfortunately, a big number of respondents (60-70%) said they would not be
interested to pay for user generated content available on blogs and social
Another very significant feedback, and I believe that it is probably more
important than other feedbacks is about the ease of payment. The Nielsen survey
reveals that 63% users will pay if the payment system is easy to use. I can
empathize with such users, and believe that a lot needs to be done in this
direction. For instance, I have been trying to buy an online subscription of a
leading environment magazine, but have given up after struggling for several
However, the more encouraging conclusion from the survey is that Indians
realize that unless content companies make money, the quality of the content
they produce and sell will continue to be poor. They are therefore ready to
accept more ads on the Internet, if it can somehow be separate from the content,
and not come in the way of using that content. This, I think is a very positive
feedback. The perception, all along, of the average Indian consumer is that he
wants everything for free.
Clearly, more Indians will be willing to pay for online content, so we will
see more players coming in. At the same time consumers maturity and expectation
levels will go up. And perhaps more types of consumers will emerge.
Content players will have to quickly rework their strategies. For instance,
generating quality content will not be easy or cheap, but making the sites and
payment processes user friendly is not very difficult too. Packaging will have
to be much better, and there will have to be options for pay for what you buy.
From here, it is going to be a very interesting journey, but difficult.