Only 13 per cent of internet users would be prepared to pay for access to online media, a survey has found.
The research, carried out by GfK on behalf of the Wall Street Journal Europe, was designed to ascertain internet use in 16 European countries and the USA.
80 per cent of respondents said they wanted continued free access to information online, and of the 13 per cent of users willing to pay, 8 per cent would accept a charge for advertising-free content, and 5 per cent would pay for content with advertising.
The research also showed variation between how different countries view the concept of paying for digital content. 23 per cent of Swedes, almost 20 per cent of Dutch and British people and 17 per cent of Americans would not mind paying to access information on the web.
These figures also change pending usage preferences: in Sweden, a slightly higher level of acceptance of paid content was observed among those who like to use the web for blogging and e-finance. Bloggers in the UK were also found to take a more positive view of paid content.
In contrast, US surfers who use the internet for games, music downloads and e-services, such as purchasing tickets for travel or a concert, are more tolerant of access fees. In Europe as a whole, those who prefer to use the web for e-finance, erotic content and e-services tend to be slightly more willing to pay.
The findings could prove to be a blow to Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp owns the Wall Street Journal. He recently announced plans to make content from all News Corp publications paid-for, and has also been in talks to remove content from Google.