Some Consumers Willing To Pay For Online News

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A new report suggests some consumers may be willing to pay for online news content.

J.D. Power and Associates has released a report "Online Commentary Indicates Consumer Willingness to Pay For Online News" which is based on a survey of blogs and message board postings.

Nearly 40 percent of bloggers who discussed the issue said they would, or already do, pay for online news content. The most common reasons include the fact that they find value in professional journalism and they don’t want the quality of news to decline. Subscription service was mentioned most frequently as the preferred payment option.

Janet Eden Harris"Among those bloggers who accept having to pay for news content in the future, many mention preferring a subscription service," said Janet Eden-Harris, vice president of J.D. Power and Associates Web Intelligence Division.

"Monthly or yearly subscriptions to content appeal to bloggers more than paying by the article, because in contrast to the iTunes model – in which content is licensed for a long period of time – news articles are more transient and lose value quickly. In addition, bloggers believe that there’s no easy way to pay for articles individually. Bloggers also say they would prefer a subscription service because it could include an ability to organize all the news articles read and to tag them for future reference."

The report found that 17 percent of bloggers say that news information should always be free and they would find a way to get news without paying. Under half (45%) of bloggers are still undecided about if they would pay for news content.

We’re catching this conversation at its genesis," said Eden-Harris. "It hasn’t quite hit mainstream because the general public isn’t confronted with a true pay-for-news-or-lose-it decision."

"Right now, the conversation is concentrated among bloggers who are interested in media models, media evolution, journalism, democracy and different online payment models. But consumers are beginning to take note and debate the issue among themselves as they wait to see how the situation evolves."


Some Consumers Willing To Pay For Online News
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  • http://www.downes.ca Stephen Downes

    It’s easy to say people would be willing to pay for content, and probably true, but you should be careful about what you infer from that.

    For example, I financially support sites like Rabble and Media Awareness Network (where I found this item) but it’s more like a sponsorship than a subscription.

    I finance the content because I think it’s good content and ought to be shared, not in order to pay for my own access to it. Indeed, I would be very upset, and would *stop* supporting these sites, if they erected subscription barriers around their content.

    It’s very likely bloggers in general, those who would pay for content, think the same way. They want access not only to content they can read, but also content they can link to, that they can share, that they can repurpose.

    That’s why, out of the (limited) set of options they are offerd, they choose subscription. Nobody wants barriers or walls around any of this stuff.

    Finally, it’s important to understand that this is not, and never will be, a “pay for news or lose it” proposition. Most of what counts as “news” these days – regurgitated press releases, marketing campaigns, lies and corporate propaganda – people do *not* want.

    What people will fund is not “news as you know it”. What people will fund is more like “stuff that matters”.

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