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Pay models for online news in the US and Europe

Newspaper subscription models are slowly increasing, but most news outlets still offer completely free access to news

By Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

More than two-thirds of leading newspapers (69%) across the EU and US are operating some kind of paywall, a trend that has increased since 2017 – especially in the US where this has increased from 60% to 76%.

Yet, fears about paywalls limiting access to online news appear ‘overblown’, according to a study of over 200 news outlets across seven countries, with hard paywalls that completely restrict access to non-fee payers being very rare.

New research by Felix Simon and Lucas Graves from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism examines 212 news outlets – newspapers, weekly newspapers or magazines, broadcasters and digital-born news outlets – across seven countries in Europe and the US.

Access this report to:

  • Read analysis of the pay model landscape in the US and Europe
  • Understand the pay models that are most favored, and why
  • Benchmark your pay model approach

“The challenge for news organizations now is to deliver such quality content, and the kind of user experience and convenience that people have come to expect from digital media, and to market their offers to the many who are currently not paying for journalism, but might do so in the future.”

Felix Simon, lead author