Consumers Say “No” to Paid News Content

Website Magazine:

Times are tough in the publishing world. And the news doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

A new survey from PaidContent:UK and Harris Interactive polled nearly 1,200 UK readers and found that a scant five percent would consider paying for their “favorite” news site if it began charging for access. Close to 75 percent said they would find a free alternative while the others would either continue to scan headlines or were “not sure” what they would do.

This comes on the heels of Rupert Murdoch’s proposed plan to form a “bloc” of sorts, urging top content providers to start charging for access all at the same time. The idea is that by blocking access in unison, users will be forced to pay up. But if this recent study is any indication, it doesn’t look good for Mr. Murdoch and friends.

One interesting note is that younger readers are far more likely to pay for content than their older counterparts. Among those aged 16-24, 13 percent would pay to continue reading; among those aged 25-34, 6 percent would pay. Just one percent of those aged 35-44 would pay.

What’s often left out of the discussion of paid vs. free content is a middle ground, hybrid model. The Wall Street Journal, for example, offers free content, but premium content requires a paid subscription and they have been very successful. That’s because much of their content is of tremendous value to the financial community and drives business decisions.

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