According to a global Nielsen survey, a significant number of Australians would be willing to pay for quality online content.

The survey polled 27,000 across 54 countries, 500 of which were Australian.

It found that although few consumers had paid for online content previously, 51% said they’d consider paying for online movies, 49% books and 46% professionally produced video (including TV).

With regard to consumer generated content, few would pay – 9% would said they’d pay to view blogs, 16% consumer-generated video and 14% social communities. Although more would consider paying for podcasts (24%), only 19% would do the same for music radio and even fewer – 11% – for news/talk radio.

Pay walls for online news has become contentious since News Corp began making serious noise about pay walls for online news. Only 1% had previously paid for internet-only news, 4% for newspaper content online. 68% of respondents said they would not consider paying for online newspapers in the future and 78% said the same regarding internet-only news sources. A third of the Australians polled were OK with greater advertising supporting online content costs. However, if they were paying for the online content, 75% said there should be no advertising at all. The same number felt their existing subscriptions should cover the online offering.

“Australian consumers have a much higher propensity to pay for content which they know has been professionally produced such as music, movies and games, and an overwhelming majority (74%) say that paid-for content would have to be significantly better than what is currently available for free online before they would consider paying for it,” said Mark Higginson, director of analytics for Nielsen’s online business in Australia.

“On the other hand, content which has been created by fellow consumers such as blogs or videos holds little value, in part due to the extent to which such content is readily available online for free and, as a result, we are seeing fewer instances where consumers are forking out. Consumers’ attitudes to paying for content are still quite fragmented and highlight just how discriminating Internet audiences can be when it comes to different types of content,” noted Higginson. “For anyone providing online content, these are tricky times and monetisation models will have to be flexible – content providers need to look at providing more, not fewer, options to supporting the cost of their content.”