Will consumers pay for health content?

by Hans on 2010/02/18

A Nielsen report titled “Changing Models: A global perspective on paying for content online” found that consumers are likely to pay for some types of content. The graph from Nielsen’s report summarizes the findings:

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What about health information/content? I would guess that respondents would indicate “would consider paying” very positively. Conducting a “willingness to pay” study would be very interesting to find out if health information/content would rate higher. I would probably group respondents into the following categories:

  • Healthy – These healthy people would probably not be very likely to pay for any type of information. In my experience and from anecdotal evidence, healthy people don’t really value services and information much as they don’t really have a need for it. Of course, everything changes once you get sick.
  • Current or Recent Patient – I would guess that these people who have had an experience with the health care system (or their own health) would be willing to pay for information. What I’m not sure about is whether there is a difference between patients living with chronic conditions or those who have just had an episode.
  • (Informal) Caregivers – I suspect these people would respond positively given their role supporting a loved one.
  • Former Patient – I’m not sure about this category – both in terms of including it and also in how they would respond. A person who had interacted with the health system may see the value of health information, but given that they are healthy once again, the urgent demand for information may not be present.

I suspect that people are willing to pay for health information. We already know that genetic testing and the information provided therein is an increasing part of the medical testing market. Whether this type of demand translates into specific or broad willingness to pay is still unknown. Perhaps the results will be similar to the results on willingness to pay for content online as reported by Nielsen.

Note: The content (i.e., graph) is property of the Nielsen Company.

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