Thursday, 09 May 2019 12:16 GMT

More people are now willing to pay for news

News organisations across Europe and the U.S are exploring new, sustainable business models to address revenue shortfall caused by a “rapidly changing business environment.”

At the same time, the number of people willing to pay for news is slowly growing.

These are findings from a study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism investigated pay models for online news in the U.S and Europe.

The study also finds that whilst there has been an increase in the use of paywalls – 69% of newspapers operate some kind of paywall - consumers are not overly put off by this as lots of digital outlets still provide free news.

Hard paywalls that completely restrict access to non-fee payers are very rare, and almost all television organisations and digital-born media offer free access to online news.

Commenting on the findings, Felix Simon, lead author of the report says: “Paywalls are increasingly popular with publishers, who are challenging the assumption that people will not pay for digital news.

Paywalls are increasingly popular with publishers, who are challenging the assumption that people will not pay for digital news

“The challenge for news organisations now is to deliver such quality content, and the kind of user experience and convenience that people have come to expect from digital media, and to market their offers to the many who are currently not paying for journalism, but might do so in the future.”

Although most digital-born news outlets currently offer free access to news, and all broadcasters offer free access to digital content, some corners of the media are doing the opposite.

The study finds that some corners of the media are rapidly adopting payment models with just 27% of regional newspapers offering free access, compared to 36% just two years ago.

Yet with such a range of content free to access, it is easy to see why fears about paywalls limiting access to quality information are not largely widespread.

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