New Survey; Most Americans Not Willing to Pay to Read News Content Online

Even fewer than said they would pay 15 months ago

NEW YORK, April 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — As businesses explore best practices for success in the changing landscape created by the Internet, some companies have discussed charging for access to online content that was previously free.  Some media outlets have discussed doing this, and The New York Times recently began charging online readers who view over 20 articles per month.  But there may be trouble ahead as a recent Adweek/Harris Poll found that a large majority said they would be willing to pay “nothing” per month to read a daily newspaper’s content online (80%). Of the one in five who would pay, 14% said they would pay between $1 and $10 per month while very few said that they would be willing to pay between $11 and $20 (4%) or more than $20 per month (2%).

These are some of the findings of a new Adweek/Harris Poll, survey of 2,105 U.S. adults surveyed online between March 29 and 31, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

Interestingly, while online paywalls are becoming more common, fewer people say they would be willing to pay to read content online now, than said so in late 2009—20% say they would be willing to pay for a daily newspaper’s content online today, compared to 23% who said so in December 2009.

Other findings of the recent poll include:

  • Younger adults are more likely than those older to pay for a daily newspaper’s content online—over a quarter of adults aged 18-34 say they would (26%) compared to between 15% and 18% of all other age groups;
  • Men are more willing to pay than women are—a quarter of men say they would (25%) with 18% saying they would pay between $1 and $10 per month, while only 15% of women say they would pay anything to read a daily newspaper’s content online; and,
  • The more education a person has the more likely they are to be willing to pay to read a daily newspaper’s content online—over a quarter of college graduates say they would pay (28%) compared to one in five people who have attended some college (19%) and just 15% who have not attended any college at all.

So What?

Currently several major publications charge readers for their content online including the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and most recently The New York Times.  Unfortunately it seems that as these companies are adapting to a business environment increasingly dominated by the Internet, their readers are slower to embrace, or are resistant to, certain changes, especially when it comes to paying for something that has been free for so long.  This raises several questions and areas for more research, including: how many Americans rely on the Internet for their news content, how particular are Americans about what publication or source they go to for their news, and, how do people think that media companies with large online presences should pay for the work that they do.

SOURCE Harris Interactive

RELATED LINKS
http://www.harrisinteractive.com

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