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Study Reveals Most Won’t Pay for Newspaper and Magazine Content Online

19 Nov 2009

Findings from a new study by Forrester Research in the US show bad news for newspaper and magazine publishers hoping to boost their flagging businesses by charging for content: Most consumers won't pay for it.


The study polled around 4,700 U.S. consumers, 80 per cent of whom indicated they would be unwilling to pay for access to newspaper and magazine articles and other content.

Since the once successful online advertising market has cooled off considerably in the past 12 months, publishers are seriously considering charging for content as another alternative. All signs so far indicate this will be a tough sell.

Meanwhile catering to the remaining 20 per cent of respondents who are willing to pay for content won't be easy either. This group is divided in its preferences for payment methods.

8 per cent would like a subscription fee for accessing all online content; another 8 per cent would like a subscription for access to content on the Web, in print and via mobile devices, the other 3 per cent lean toward micropayments, paying for individual articles.

The findings indicate that publishers have to continue offering free content monetised through advertising, while also setting a price on premium content that consumers can pay for via a variety of methods, according to the study's lead author Sarah Rotman Epps.

"There's no one delivery platform, and no one pricing model, that will satisfy all consumers. Consumer willingness to pay is so modest -- and, in general, we find it tends to over-report in surveys -- that publishers need to be extremely flexible to accommodate the needs of these precious customers," Rotman wrote in a blog posting.


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