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There is a glimmer of hope for the publishing and entertainment industries. According to a recent Nielsen survey, consumers are willing to pay for content, it’s just that they’d really, really prefer not to.

Nielsen polled more than 27,000 people in 52 countries and found that nearly 60% would consider paying for music and movies. Meanwhile, about half of consumers would pay for magazines and just more than 40% would pay for newspapers. Those aren’t exactly fantastic numbers, but it’s certainly better than some might expect, especially after Newsday’s recent pay wall fiasco.

But there was one daunting fact uncovered by Nielsen’s survey. When asked, 79% of consumers said they would stop using a Web site if it started to charge them, and switch over to one that does not.  So how does this reconcile with their willingness to pay for some content?

For most online consumers, there is a distinction between professional and amateur Web content. According to Nielsen, “Consumers are least likely to pay for content that is essentially homegrown online, often by other consumers at fairly low cost. These include social communities, podcasts, consumer-generated videos and blogs.”

So if you build a solid, professional Web site, the users will come, and eventually, they may bring their wallets too.

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