In a survey released this week by media law firm Olswang, iPhone users say they are prepared to spend more for exclusive digital content. As reported on 9to5Mac.com, 58% of survey respondents said they would pay to access a just-released movie on their mobile devices. But among iPhone owners, that figure jumps to 73%. There's a similar split for TV. While 30% of those surveyed expressed interest in buying a subscription to a TV show they like, 41% of iPhone owners say they'd be interested. In the same vein, iPhone owners were more receptive to paying for mobile access to magazines and newspapers.
So, what does this all mean? With all the bad news about print publications hemorrhaging cash, the survey could be seen as an encouraging sign. Paid access to online content is an idea that has come, then gone, and now seems poised to come back again. Just as we're getting accustomed a la carte pay schemes for baggage check and food on airplanes, we might be doing the same thing for some Internet and mobile content in the not-so-distant future.
This is all good news for publishers like Conde Nast and Time, Inc., who are supposedly collaborating on a new mobile app for the iPhone and other devices -- a sort of mobile newsstand where you can buy access to individual articles, issues or columns. The New York Times' Brian Stelter reports that details haven't yet emerged about this new company, but an announcement may come as early as December.
Most pundits aren't too surprised by the survey findings. In his article for Wired magazine's Gadget Lab, Brian X. Chen writes: "Above all, my view is that the App Store, which serves over 100,000 apps, has conditioned us to demand more and more from a single device. In turn we're evolving into a demographic that craves more from the digital as opposed to the physical."