If You Build It, Will They Pay?

Joe D

“Get It Now” factor a vital force for Internet users…

Getting consumers to pay for content has been a challenge for Web developers since the beginning of the Internet. Many business models do work and consumers do pay for content – some on a regular, monthly or annual basis – so it is possible to find success with a content-driven site. However, there is one factor that many developers neglect to consider – price.

A recent survey conducted in the UK showed that users are getting more familiar with the idea of getting long-running video content – such as full-length videos, movies, television programs, etc. – over the Internet. Because this form of entertainment is replacing more commonly used methods – such as purchasing physical DVDs, renting DVDs or buying Pay-Per-View showings through their televisions – businesses are finding that consumers are willing to pay to watch online – just not as much.

Surveys conducted by Olswang and YouGov revealed that price was THE most important deciding factor – with over 50% saying that they would purchase and download a movie rather than buy or rent it on DVD if it was cheaper. Most also said that they would prefer to stream a movie online rather than rent a DVD – mostly because of the convenience and ability to view the video immediately rather than waiting for a rental or going to the store.

Whether you work in the adult industry or a mainstream e-commerce sector, this is important market trend information. It tells us that as consumers become more familiar with a technology or method of content delivery, the easier it will be to sell other things to them in the future. Consumer confidence is essential – especially when attempting to sell content via a new technology. Your target audience needs to be comfortable with purchasing video or other types of content over the Internet. If they have a good initial experience, chances are they will be back for more.

Another “nice to have” feature mentioned by the survey group was the ability to rent or view video content for more than a single 24-hour period – something the adult industry has been doing for awhile. Many adult video programs give users the option to download for purchase, burn to DVD, rent for a 24-hour, 7-day or 30-day period – even rent XXX films a la carte, or by the scene. In the UK survey, users stated “short rental windows” as their *chief complaint* against mainstream online video rental services.

As proven in many business models such as eBay’s “buy it now” and the iTunes instant music downloads – the UK surveyors also found that the “get it now” factor was a driving force for Internet users. Young adults were especially excited about the possibility of being able to view content online before it was available on DVD or in other formats – a hint to content developers looking to expand their online markets.