People are more willing to pay for movies, music, video games, e-books and only 31% are willing to pay for digital newspapers or magazines.
The report is based on responses from 5,000 consumers in 10 countries, namely France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, UK, US and of course Malaysia.
Even though the results might be skewed towards online users (who had downloaded software or streamed online video or music), it is still a good reference point for the debate of print vs online content consumption.
While the report covers a range of content from movies, TV shows, music to video games, I found out the statistics of e-books and newspaper are worth highlighting, especially on Malaysia's context.
Malaysia: 75% e-book vs 25% physical book
I personally prefer reading over a printed book, I just couldn't adapt to e-book even though I have tried Kindle and Kobo.
However, a majority of the online-savvy consumers in Malaysia prefer downloading e-book and read them offline. Only close to a quarter of Malaysians prefer to purchase and read physical books.
In fact, Malaysians' habit of reading over printed books is the lowest among the 10 countries surveyed. On the other hand, Japan, South Korea and France are the top 3 countries who prefer to read printed books more than e-book.
Is reading physical books a habit more commonly adopted by developed countries? You can make your own conclusion from the table above :)
Only 12.5% Malaysians prefer print newspaper
Next, let's look at how Malaysians consume newspapers or magazines: 21.9% prefer to download them and read offline, 12.5% purchase a physical copy, 65.7% read them online.
While I am not sure how many publications would allow you to download and read, Malaysians' preference for print newspapers or magazines is the lowest among the 10 countries surveyed.
- Read also the adex myth: Is newspaper advertising still effective?
However, it is not all about Facebook for news here, bring on WhatsApp!
According to Digital News Report 2018, Malaysia is among the world's highest in terms of using WhatsApp for finding, reading, watching, sharing or discussing news.
A safe place of free expression over the messaging app perhaps? It is not a coincidence that WhatsApp is the #1 chat app in Malaysia.
Would you pay for online content like news?
If we refer to the average above (last row of the table), people are more willing to pay for movies, music, video games, e-books and only 31% are willing to pay for digital newspapers or magazines.
This is the on-going dilemma of online publishers as only the well-established ones can afford to implement paywall to their content. Majority of the online news and content sites have to rely on advertising or event to keep them going.
Speaking of advertising, brands need to really review their ad spend on physical newspaper or magazine as the readership is dropping day by day here.
While I still read physical newspaper almost every day, advertisers can no longer treat print as a routine, or for the sake of doing it just because "print ad can be seen by the bosses".
You must follow where your consumers are, this is applicable to both the advertisers and publishers.