In age of free data, nickels and dimes start rolling in

Two-thirds of Web users are buying digital paid content, a new study finds.

Mark Lennihan/AP/File
In this Feb. 9, 2009 file photo, the Kindle 2 electronic reader is shown at an news conference in New York. More and more Internet users are paying to download everything from movies to books and news articles, according to a Pew study.

More and more Internet users are paying to download or access some kind of online content, ranging from movies to games to news articles. In fact, two-thirds or 65 percent of Internet users fall into this category, according to a new study by The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

The report revealed that music, software, and apps are the most popular content that internet users have paid to access or download, although the range of paid online content is quite varied and widespread.

About 33 percent of Internet users have paid for digital music online, while another 33 percent have paid for software. Apps on cell phone or tablets are also popular, with 21 percent of Web users paying for this content.

While 19 percent have paid for digital games, only 10 percent have paid for e-books. Digital newspapers, magazine, journal articles or reports are only downloaded or accessed by only 18 percent of Internet users.

Men and women Internet users pay for online content at similar percentages, with the exception of software, for which men are more likely than women to pay to access.

There is a correlation between income levels and paying for online content, the report found, with the Internet users who live in higher-income bracket households more likely to pay for various kinds of content than those who live in lower-income brackets.

Of those internet users reporting a dollar amount for purchasing online content, the typical user spent $10 per month.

"What was really surprising was that the percentage of Internet users purchasing online content is nearly the same as those purchasing other products and services, such as books and travel," said Jim Jansen, the author of the Pew Internet report. "Additionally, the range of online content that Internet users purchase is quite varied."

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