Viewers Will Pay to Go Adless

NEW YORK A new global survey on broadcast viewing from consultant Accenture shows that despite the recession, a growing number of consumers would rather pay for content to avoid ads.

The survey, which polled 14,000 consumers in 13 countries in January and February 2009, showed that 49 percent of respondents indicated a willingness to pay for digital programming, up from the 37 percent who said they’d be willing to pay in last year’s poll.

The survey found that subscription payment models — where consumers pay a fee (usually monthly) for unlimited programming — were preferred over pay-to-play models.

“This underscores the recession-resistant nature of subscription models even in today’s tough economic climate,” said David Wolf, a senior executive with Accenture’s media and entertainment practice.

And content using pay-to-play models will likely take a hit this year, according the survey. Six percent of those surveyed said they planned to spend less on DVDs this year, while 5 percent said they would spend less for on-demand video.

The survey concluded that while fragmentation on traditional TV outlets continues, the consumption of broadcast content on all platforms is growing.

Overall, 74 percent of respondents said they would enjoy watching content on personal computers, up 13 percentage points from a year ago, when Accenture conducted its global broadcast survey for the first time. Forty-five percent said they would enjoy viewing content on mobile devices, up from 32 percent in 2008.

The survey also found that in more developed markets interest in consuming content on new platforms declines sharply with age. For example, the number of respondents in the U.S. who said they would enjoy viewing content on their mobile devices peaked at 50 percent for those under 25 years old and bottomed out at 9 percent for those 55 and older.

In less developed markets, interest in consuming content on new platforms was high among younger and older consumers. In Malaysia, for instance, 71 percent of 25-34-year-olds said they’d enjoy watching content on mobile devices, while almost as many consumers 55 years and older said they would enjoy doing so (69 percent).

Countries in the survey included the U.S., Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, South Korea, Singapore, the U.K. and Spain.