These are the findings of the international survey “Internet Use”, which was conducted by GfK Custom Research and the GfK Association on behalf of the Wall Street Journal Europe in 16 European countries and the USA. The proportion of those prepared to accept a charge stands at 13% across all countries: 8% would be willing to pay for advertising-free content, while 5% would pay for content with advertisements. However, the majority of surfers want to continue to use the Internet free of charge, as they have always done.

In the survey, Internet users were asked, among other things, how willing they would be to pay for content – in particular on websites focusing on news, entertainment and general knowledge, such as Wikipedia.

80% of respondents in the 17 countries where the survey was conducted want continued free access to online content: a third of all survey participants are of the opinion that Internet content should be free of advertising and free of charge. The majority (46%) want free access to content, but are prepared to put up with advertising.

In particular, over 50% of Greeks, Belgians, Swedes and Americans voted for free content paired with advertisements, versus only 22%Romanians.

However, some countries view the concept of paying for digital content more positively: 23% of Swedes, almost 20% of Dutch and British people and 17% of Americans would not mind paying to access information on the web.

In Sweden, a slightly higher level of acceptance of paid content can be observed among those who like to use the web for blogging and e-finance. Bloggers in the UK also take a more positive view of paid content. In contrast, US surfers who use the Internet for games, music downloads and e-services, such as purchasing tickets for travel or a concert, are more tolerant of access fees. In Europe as a whole, those who prefer to use the Internet for e-finance, erotic content and e-services tend to be slightly more willing to pay.

In autumn 2009, GfK Custom Research surveyed a total of 16,800 people aged over 15 in 17 countries for the international survey "Internet Use”, commissioned by the Wall Street Journal Europe and financially supported by the GfK Association. Respondents were asked whether they had private access to the Internet, how much time they spend online, for what purpose they prefer to use the worldwide web, how willing they would be to pay to access content and what they perceive to be the Internet’s influence on society.

GfK Romania, established in 1992 is a wholly-owned subsidiary of GfK Group. GfK business is split into four sectors: Custom Research – ad-hoc research, Consumer Panel – information on fast-moving consumer goods sector on a continuous basis; Retail and Technology – information on retail sales of technical consumer goods on a continuous basis and Media – customized research on reach, intensity and use of TV, radio, print and online media.

Established 75 years ago as the first market research company in Germany, GfK group has 150 branches in 100 countries in five continents.