From Free To Fee: Exploring The Antecedents Of Consumer Intention To Switch To Paid Online Content


Ziyou Li
Yan Cheng


As a hybrid revenue model seems better for generating revenue for online content providers than purely either an advertising revenue model or a pay-for-content model, many online content providers are increasingly adopting the hybrid revenue model. The success of this model largely depends on consumer intention to switch from free online content (“free”) to paid online content (“fee”). However, consumers who are accustomed to free content seem unready to embrace this practice, making the hybrid revenue model undesirable. Motivated by such concerns, some studies have investigated the reasons for consumer intention to pay for online content, yet scant research has synthetically explored the antecedents of consumer intention to switch from “free” to “fee” in the context of a hybrid revenue model. Using the literature of perceived value and the status quo bias theory as theoretical lenses, we develop a model to explore consumer intention to switch from “free” to “fee” in the context of a hybrid revenue model. Empirical results reveal that loss aversion, social norms, cognitive inertia, and cognitive lock-in can indirectly or directly influence consumers’ switching intentions. Furthermore, consumer’s adaptation level to advertising is also found to moderate the relationship between perceived sacrifices and switching intention. Besides contributing to theory building on consumer switching intention, the research results also offer important suggestions to online content providers.

Key Word: 

Published Date: 

November, 2014

Full File: