Paid Content

In the past, much of the content one would read, watch, listen to, etc., would require the consumer to purchase a physical copy of some kind in order to enjoy said content. Over the decades, it has become the norm for many, if not most, individuals to acquire the content they wish to consume online.
Using online payment methods, consumers across the globe are increasingly interested in purchasing and downloading digital content, as well as subscribing to streaming services. The digital method makes it convenient and easy for people to experience the series, movies, audiobooks, music, video games, etc., that they know and love. Some of the best-known brands within the digital content industry include Spotify, Amazon Music, Netflix, HBO, Audible, and many more.

Length of Spotify's free trial in the U.S.
90 days
Share of kids in the U.S. that spend over 100 USD per month on in-app purchases for mobile games
Share of Chinese consumers who spent money on a digital video content subscription

Market size

Paid content worldwide
Share of individuals who purchased media online in Great Britain 2020, by gender
Further details: Visit original statistic

Growing alongside the internet age, paying for digital content has become a mainstay of the entertainment industry, as well as other industries. Globally, digital content is booming and becoming increasingly popular, as many brands, companies, and streaming services offer worthwhile products at a reasonable cost, and an increasing number of consumers pay and open up to the concept.

Streaming in the U.S.
Paid content in Germany
Pay TV in Europe

Market segments

What types of digital content do consumers pay for?
Share of gamers who purchase downloadable content in the United States in 2019, by game
Further details: Visit original statistic

In the world of paid digital content, the subscription business model is very common. 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. These are usually paid for by the consumer on a monthly or yearly basis. Paid content also entails one-time purchases, such as digital app store purchases or in-game microtransactions.

Subscription video-on-demand
Music streaming in the U.S.
Paying for digital news in the UK

Industry trends

An increasingly digitalized world
Worldwide gross app revenue of Google Play from 2016 to 2020 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Further details: Visit original statistic

Over the years, adapting to the digitalized world has become vital for major industries to remain relevant. It has been especially challenging for branches, such as for newspapers, magazines, the music industry, among many others, to monetize the content they produce. Certain industries, for instance, the video game industry, managed to take advantage of the internet age and are expected to keep growing in value over the coming years.

Digital music outlook worldwide
ePublishing outlook worldwide
Digitalization in the media industry in Sweden

Industry leaders

Who is running the show?
Share of Spotify’s premium subscribers worldwide in the 3rd quarter of 2020, by region
Further details: Visit original statistic

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

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

Industry definition

The paid content category offers an insight into digital content purchased and paid for by consumers worldwide. Specifically, it covers major brands and markets, as well as consumer behavior and the latest trends. Furthermore, this category involves various types of paid content, including video-on-demand, digital subscription services, online music streaming, electronic reading material, as well as video game monetization. For more on digital content, visit the media and internet categories.

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