People getting used to paying for online news: report

A study into digital news has reported a ‘significant rise’ in the number of people that paid for digital news in the past year.

The study, commissioned by the Reuters Institute called, ‘Digital News Report 2013′, is based on the results of an online questionnaire by YouGov, and found that across the nine countries taking part in the study, (the UK, Japan, Germany, Brazil, Spain Italy, France, Denmark, and the US), just 5% of the respondents said they had paid for news on a digital platform in the past week, compared to the 50% who had purchased a newspaper in print.

The number of people paying for digital news was much higher in Italy, where 21% had done so in the past year. The highest was urban Brazil where 24% of people had paid for digital news and 58% indicated they were ‘very likely or somewhat likely’ to do so in the future.

“Italy and Spain’s figures are largely driven by one-off payments for apps and articles while the US and Denmark statistics are more fuelled by ongoing digital subscription,” the report says.

The UK was found to have the lowest percentage of respondents who had paid for news on a digital platform over the past year. Denmark came it at 10%, Germany 11%, the US with 12% and France with 13%.

Roughly 10% of those surveyed have paid for news in some digital form, a figure that rose about one-third from last year.

Charts by Reuters Institute

Image: Reuters Institute

All countries apart from Denmark saw in increase in the number of people who paid for digital news content in the past year. However, only 5% said they paid for digital content in the same period.

Among those who currently do not pay for digital news, 14% said they’d consider it in the future.

The demographic most likely to pay for online news is males in the 25- to 34-year-old age group, the study found. Tablet users are also twice as likely to pay for digital content than computer readers, although that fact is influenced by income.

The study also showed how paid digital news strategies varied with one-off purchases of apps, articles or single-day access common in Italy, Spain and France and subscriptions prevalent in the US and Denmark.