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Kids think content should be free, states report

Nearly half of young Brits believe that people should have the right to access content on the Internet for free, a new poll from YouGov has found.

The market research specialists asked  614 youngsters between the ages of 8 and 15 about the consumption of digital media, discovering that 49% either agreed or strongly agreed that people should be able to access or download content free of charge online.

The pollsters said the general consensus is that content in a digital format should either be free or cheaper than its physical equivalent.

It is thought that the children’s beliefs stem from their attitudes towards copyright; just 7% agreed that file-sharing is stealing, although 45% said that they thought it wrong to access digital content without having the creator’s permission to do so.

YouGov’s research director, James McCoy, commented that children today have grown up alongside digital material and are accustomed to accessing content, for the most part, without paying for it.

Further, he said that it is not just file-sharing driving the trend, with free ad-supported services like YouTube, Spotify and Blinkbox contributing to the prevalent attitude that content should be free.

From a business perspective, publishing free-to-access content is a reliable way of driving site traffic and giving users a reason to return, offering them more than just the products and services they are accustomed to purchasing.

However, for British newspapers, maintaining a free online presence alongside more traditional printed formats has shown small results in terms of boosting visitor levels.

The Daily Telegraph, for example, charges a subscription but boasts around 4.4 million Internet readers per month, whereas the Independent, which lacks a subscription fee, sees just 2.2 million readers each month. The Guardian’s free website, on the other hand, reports a monthly web readership of 4.9 million, making it the highest figure for all the UK’s current and former broadsheets.

Steven Morris

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