Attitudes to Paying for Online News

“It should feel useful, news that I can’t get anywhere else”

By Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

More consumers can be persuaded to pay for online news, but only if content is distinctive and the user experience is great. What precisely are consumers’ expectations? And, what dictates their propensity to spend on news? This report explores these questions, and reveals some surprising and promising observations such as:

  • Younger people might be more prepared to pay for news, but which model(s) do they prefer?
  • Those who pay, do so for many reasons, including quality; brand, and convenience.
  • Despite very little public awareness or sympathy for the funding problems of the news industry, there is interest in other business models.

This report contains both good and bad news for the news industry. It suggests that more people of all ages might be prepared to pay for news in the future – but only if news organizations do a much better job in providing content and experiences that are relevant and valuable, day after day. There are no short-cuts to success. 

Nic Newman, research associate, Reuters Institute