People in UAE want web content to stay free

Nielsen survey finds majority also demand that quality of online information improve

Tags: E-booksE-commerceEgyptEntertainmentSaudi ArabiaThe Nielsen CompanyUnited Arab Emirates
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People in UAE want web content to stay free 80% of people surveyed from the UAE said they would rather search the web for free content than pay for what they need.
By  Vineetha Menon Published  March 24, 2010

A Nielsen study into how our relationship with the web is changing from a content perspective found that 88% of the people surveyed from the United Arab Emirates prefer to see web content remain free.

The study, which involved 27,000 consumers across 54 countries, also saw 66% of UAE respondents say that content quality needs to improve ‘significantly' before providers can consider charging for it.

The UAE responses mimic those from other Middle Eastern countries where 85% from Saudi Arabia and 87% from Egypt also believed that content online should be be accessible without charge.

Those from the UAE that said they would consider paying for online content would only do so for material related to movies, books, music and games, and are even willing to accept more web advertising to support the cost of improved content. The Nielsen survey found that a fifth of UAE internet users had already paid for books online, 14% had bought music, and 13% had purchased movies via the web.

But 80% in the survey added that they would rather search the web for free content than pay for what they need online.

"Compared to many of their peers around the world, UAE consumers are more willing to buy professionally produced online content. But content that has been generated by fellow users, such as blogs and video, has far less appeal," said Sevil Ermin, managing director of Nielsen, UAE. 

The study also made apparent the issues that surround purchasing online content. Nielsen figures show that nearly two-thirds of UAE respondents prefer to pay for specific items than subscribe to an entire site, while half of those interviewed called for more convenient web payment methods.

"Consumers appear to be stressing value and convenience in their attitudes towards commercial transactions online, and preferences are still quite fragmented. Online content providers clearly need to focus on offering more choice than less in their pursuit of internet users willing to pay for their services," advised Ermin.

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