Paid Content

In the past, much of the content one read, watched, or listened to would entail purchasing a physical product to enjoy it. Over the decades, it has become the norm for many, if not most, to acquire the content they wish to consume in a digital form.

Using online payment methods, consumers across the globe have become increasingly interested in purchasing and downloading digital content and subscribing to streaming services. Digital platforms make it convenient and easy for people to experience the series, movies, audiobooks, music, video games, etc., they know and love. Some of the most well-known brands within the digital content sector are Spotify, Amazon Music, Netflix, HBO, Audible, and many more.

Digital media market revenue
360bn USD
Share of digital video purchasers in China
71%
Length of Spotify's free trial in the U.S.
90 days

Market size

Paid content worldwide

Share of internet users paying each month for digital content in selected countries worldwide as of 3rd quarter 2021

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Further details: Visit original statistic Share of internet users paying each month for digital content in selected countries worldwide as of 3rd quarter 2021

Growing alongside the internet age, paying for digital content has become a mainstay of the entertainment industry. Globally, digital content is multiplying and becoming increasingly popular. Many brands, companies, and streaming services offer sought-after media products at a reasonable cost. And more importantly, an increasing number of consumers are open to the concept and willing to pay for it.

Streaming in the U.S.
Video-on-demand in Europe
Digital book market in Latin America

Market segments

What types of digital content do consumers pay for?

Mobile app consumer spending worldwide from 2021 to 2026, by store (in billion U.S. dollars)

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Further details: Visit original statistic Mobile app consumer spending worldwide from 2021 to 2026, by store (in billion U.S. dollars)

The subscription business model is commonplace in the world of paid digital content. There are various types of subscription services for specific content purposes including, but not limited to, music and video entertainment streaming, digital news, audiobooks, etc. Consumers typically pay for these on a monthly or annual basis. Paid content also includes one-time purchases, such as digital app store purchases or microtransactions in games.

Music streaming in the U.S.
Streaming industry in India
Paying for digital news in the UK

Industry trends

An increasingly digitalized world

Share of metaverse participants in the United States who have participated in economic activities within video games in the last 12 months in 2021

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Further details: Visit original statistic Share of metaverse participants in the United States who have participated in economic activities within video games in the last 12 months in 2021

Over time, adapting to the digitized world has become vital for major industries to remain relevant. It has been especially challenging for branches such as newspapers, magazines, and the music industry to monetize the content they produce. Other industries, for instance, video games, have taken advantage of the internet era and are expected to keep growing in value for the foreseeable future.

Digital music outlook worldwide
ePublishing outlook worldwide
Digitalization of art and culture worldwide

Industry leaders

Who is running the show?

Share of Spotify’s premium subscribers worldwide in the 3rd quarter 2022, by region

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Further details: Visit original statistic Share of Spotify’s premium subscribers worldwide in the 3rd quarter 2022, by region

In terms of streaming, Netflix and Spotify were some of the first highly successful platforms within their respective industries, but with that success, competition quickly followed. Some of Netflix’s main competitors are Amazon Prime Video, HBO, and Disney+, while for Spotify, it includes brands like Tidal and YouTube Music. Even though many of these platforms are similar, they differ in price or offer various advantages, giving the consumer several options when choosing to which to subscribe.

Amazon Prime Video
Digital music: Deezer
Video-on-demand: Netflix

State of the industry

  • Subscription video-on-demand market in the United States
  • Hulu
  • Digital Media Report - Video-on-Demand
  • Digital music: iTunes users in the United States
  • Digital music: SoundCloud users in the United States
  • Digital video in the U.S. (DMO)
  • Digital music in the United Kingdom (DMO)
  • Digital news in the United Kingdom (UK)
  • Subscription video-on-demand market worldwide
  • Online video market in China
  • e-readers

Industry definition

The paid content category provides insight into the digital content purchased and paid for by consumers worldwide. Specifically, it covers leading brands and markets, along with the latest consumer behavior and trends. In addition, this category covers various types of paid content, such as video-on-demand, digital subscription services, online music streaming, e-reading material, as well as the monetization of video games. To learn more about digital content, visit the media and internet categories.

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