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Americans say free, ad-supported online services worth $1,200 a year

May 13, 2016 | By Research Team—DCN

Americans assigned a value of nearly $1,200 per year to the array of free, ad-supported services and content currently available to them online, according to a survey conducted by Zogby Analytics. Unsurprisingly, the majority (more than 85%) prefer an ad-supported internet model instead of paying for online content, and three-quarters said they would reduce their online activities “a great deal” if they had to pay for those services and content. At the same time, almost as many say (72.8%) that free internet content such as news, weather, email and blogs is very important.

Commissioned by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), the Zogby Analytics poll of 1,004 adults sought to better understand the aggregate value that Americans perceive in the major types of services and content made available free to consumers because of advertising. Respondents were asked to estimate how much people would have to pay for 17 different types of online services and content, ranging from e-mail to video and weather, if they were offered only on a subscription basis rather than for free with ads.


Among the survey’s key findings:

  • Consumers assigned an aggregate value of $99.77 per month to a package of 17 major types of ad-supported services and content.
  • Eighty% of respondents said they had found ads useful in finding new products, researching a purchase, or assisting with the shopping process.
  • The types of advertising that consumers had found most useful were movies/TV shows (43%), technology/devices (37%), clothing (36%), local restaurants (34%), groceries (33%), phone/internet services (32%), and travel (30%).

Zogby Analytics was commissioned by Digital Advertising Alliance to conduct an online survey of 1004 adults in the US. The survey was conducted from April 19-20, 2016. Based on a confidence interval of 95%, the margin of error is +/- 3.2%age points.

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