Consumer Willingness to Pay for Online News Gradually Increasing

Media space providers have long hoped that something would come along to entice consumers to pay for the news they used to read in the printed newspaper. Ever since news and other information became freely available on the Internet, consumers have been migrating there. Industry watchers had predicted that a larger number of consumers would be willing to pay for news they access on their tablets because that experience is vastly improved over the typical mobile or desktop interaction but new research shows this shift will take a while.

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism,  along with The Economist Group, surveyed nearly 1,000 consumers who access news at least weekly through electronic devices. When these consumers compared the value of the news they receive in tablet form versus other forms, here is what they said:

  • Worth more 16%
  • Worth the same 78%
  • Worth less 5%

About 21% of the consumer group who has not  yet paid for access to online content would be willing to part with $5 to read their news. Another 10% would be willing to pay $10. Currently, 14% of tablet owners are paying for news. This represents a huge increase over the 5% who reported last year that they were paying for any kind of digital content.  But, these figures suggest that media space providers face a big challenge in changing consumer attitudes about paying for access. While they work on changing consumer expectations, they’ll need to develop unique content to attract new business and rely on ad revenue from marketers.

[Source: Tablet Revolution: News is Valued but willingness to Pay is Low. Journalism​.org. 25 Oct. 2011. Web. 27 Oct. 2011] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.