Forrester survey, almost 80% of Internet users in the US and Canada would not pay for access to newspaper and magazine websites. Those users who would consider paying for content are mostly interested in subscriptions. Only a very small number of consumers is interested in making micropayments (3%). The study also asked which distribution channel consumers would prefer if their favorite print publications ceased to exist. 37% preferred the web, 14% mobile phones and 11% would prefer to read the content on their laptops or netbooks. 10% would prefer PDFs delivered by email and 3% would read the content on their e-readers.According to a new
44% of all respondents said that they wouldn't be interested in getting their print content through any of these delivery mechanisms.
Who Is Willing to Pay?
Forrester's Sarah Rotman Epps took a closer look at the demographic profile of those users who said that they would be willing to pay. Gender and marital status had no influence on a consumer's willingness to pay. Those who are willing to pay for magazine content are slightly younger that those who won't (43 years vs. 47). For newspaper content, however, there was no difference. Income, too, only makes a small difference. Those with a higher income are slightly more likely to pay for newspaper content than for magazines.
The report concludes that there is no consensus among consumers about how they want content delivered to them. The fact that 10% still prefer PDFs clearly shows that we are still in a transitional period. What is clear, though, is that consumers aren't very willing to pay for content online.
According to Forrester, publishers have two options: continue to offer a free, ad-supported product or offer consumers "a choice of multichannel subscriptions, single-channel subscriptions, and micropayments for premium product access."
As Rotman Epps also notes, there is a third solution: have a third party subsidize the cost of the content. This could be a device manufacturer who wants to offer exclusive content, for example.
A Slightly More Optimistic View
According to a report in the New York Times, about 48% of all Internet users in the US said that they would pay to read news online. This study by the Boston Consulting Group also looked at online news in general and found that a larger number of users was willing to pay. On average, though, these users were only willing to pay about $3.