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Consumers prefer news online, but won’t pay for it

Our video market research has revealed consumers prefer to view news online or via social media than traditional print media, but they aren’t will to pay for it. Faced with falling print readership numbers, media companies have long been seeking ways to exploit the growth in online users.

Charging people to view online content has long been touted as a way to bring in extra revenue. The Sun put its articles behind a paywall in August 2013, but recently made its content available for free again in a bid to match its competitors.

Respondents to Vox Pops International market research revealed they would be unwilling to pay for online content, despite consuming it on a daily basis. 100% of respondents said they read news online.

Those who still regularly purchased a print newspaper (18%) admitting to searching online for news for ‘more information’ or when it was ‘more convenient’. However, respondents said they would be reluctant to spend money on online content, with 59% saying they would use another free website, 35% saying they would want a hardcopy if they were paying for news and just 12% being willing to pay for online content.

More than half said they would rather pay a monthly subscription to view the whole site instead of a pay-per-article model.

Respondents were divided over how much a subscription should cost, with prices varying from £15 a year to £25 a month.

The average price suggested was £5-10.

None of the respondents were surprised by the decline of traditional print-based media and rise of online.

Research at a glance

  • 100% accessed news online
  • 78% would not pay for online content
  • 35% would prefer to pay for a print edition than online content
  • An increased number were beginning to see the benefit of social media in finding news
  • Print readers still use online for more information or ease of access / free
  • Respondents overall felt news should be free
  • Many were concerned about how elder relatives would react to the decline of print-based media

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