No pay for online papers

June 30, 2010, 8:12 PM GMT+0

The emergence of ‘freesheets’, such as City AM (pictured) or Metro, over the last few years has provided yet another challenge to the beleaguered ‘traditional newspaper’ business model. A YouGov SixthSense report into UK media consumption habits has found that the majority of UK adults are willing to continue paying for traditional newspapers, in stark contrast with their apparent unwillingness to pay for online newspaper content.

The report found that 60% of UK adults think that it is worth paying for a ‘good newspaper’. While 18% of the respondents cannot see the point of paying for a newspaper, nearly half (44%) prefer paying for a newspaper because ‘the free ones haven’t got as much real content’. Half of the respondents seem not to trust free papers as much, agreeing that the quality of a publication is reflected by the amount paid, although 38% of respondents believe that traditional newspapers are currently too expensive.

Interestingly, men and women seem to have different approaches to paying for newspapers, with a higher proportion of men than women thinking it is worth paying for a ‘good publication’. 70% of men aged between 16 and 24 think it is worth paying, compared with 56% of women in the same age group.

The story is very different when it comes to paying for online content. A vast majority (83%) replied that they would refuse to pay, with only two percent of respondents willing to shell out for online content in the current format. Only four percent would pay for online even when the content in question was not available anywhere else.

However, there does seem to be some future hope on the horizon for companies moving towards the online subscription model, especially among the young - a comparatively large ten percent of 16-24 year olds say they would ‘definitely pay’ for online access to newspapers.

YouGov Media Consumption Report