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In the UK, Consumers Not Interested in Paying for Digital News

More than eight in 10 have not paid for digital news content

When it comes to paying for digital news, US consumers aren’t the only ones not interested in doing so. In a March 2014 study from the London Press Club conducted by YouGov, 82% of UK internet users had not paid for digital news content in the previous 12 months.

Meanwhile, the percentages of those who had made a payment for any type of digital news sat in the low single digits. Examples of such payments included a one-off payment to access a news app or article, as well as an ongoing payment for a subscription to a digital news service or as part of a wider print subscription.

This won’t be changing anytime soon, as 70% of UK internet users weren’t interested in paying for any type of content in the future—even for exclusive big stories. Expert opinion, analysis and commentary was the digital news content respondents were most likely to pay for, but even so, this was cited by just 8%.

This disinterest in paying for news explains why around three-quarters of respondents preferred the “free” paywall model—that is, where all content is free and revenues are generated solely from advertising.

An August 2013 study from Kantar Media conducted by Lightspeed Research looked at UK internet users’ attitudes toward newspaper paywalls. More than four in 10 said that paywalls were pointless because the same content was typically available for free elsewhere, and an additional 37% said they were a bad idea. Just 12% thought paywalls were necessary for news organizations to make money.

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