LONDON: An increasing proportion of UK consumers are prepared to pay to access high quality online content, a new survey has shown.

KPMG surveyed more than 1,000 people during April 2013 for its annual media and entertainment barometer and found that over 50% felt that free content was one of the pluses of online media consumption. This figure was down on the 80% that had felt this way in 2009, indicating a significant shift in opinion.

"Contrary to popular perception, consumers are increasingly prepared to spend money, especially for digital content," David Elms, head of media at KPMG, told the Financial Times.

"The results prove that media companies are already changing habits and persuading consumers that content is worth paying for," he added.

The report also revealed that while spending on both online and offline content had risen, actual consumption had decreased.

Britons spent less time watching television, reading books or browsing social media sites than in previous years' studies, but spending was up across both online and offline media.

The increased penetration of smartphones and tablets was the driving factor in increasing digital expenditure. Online gaming and e-books took the largest  share here, while spending on paid apps doubled to just over £2 a year.

Traditional media, however, continued to account for the greatest share of spending on content, with television leading the way at around £10 a month.

Elms likened the current stage of the UK market to an earlier period when consumers were beginning to embrace satellite and cable TV and to move away from their dependence on terrestrial television.

"Although UK consumers have been brought up on a diet of free digital content, attitudes are slowly beginning to change. UK consumers are beginning to acknowledge the perks of paying for digital content, " he said.

A couple of issues are affecting the speed at which attitudes change. Security concerns hold back around a third of UK consumers from making online payments, while slow connection speeds mean a fifth don't have a good online experience.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff