Digital News Readers in Germany Split on Paid Content - eMarketer

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Digital News Readers in Germany Split on Paid Content

Those who are unwilling to pay largely feel free content is good enough

August 1, 2016

About a third of internet users in Germany have paid for digital news content in the past year, according to June 2016 research from Bitkom. Twenty-two percent currently have a monthly subscription. And with 94% of media CEOs finding a shift to more digital content an opportunity rather than a risk, it’s clear that digital news has a big future in Germany.

One in five respondents said they have paid for digital news content, but just for an individual article or issue. Overall, 36% had paid for news content in some way, with some overlap among people who had subscriptions and also paid on a per-item basis. With more than a third of internet users in Germany paying for digital news content, the outlook for the future of news is not so dreary as some might predict.

But there are also many internet users in Germany who don’t pay for digital news content, or who don’t even access digital news.

The vast majority of people who aren’t willing to pay for digital news content say that it’s because there’s enough free digital content—they’re satisfied with what they can get without going behind a paywall.

But quality also comes into play for internet users unwilling to pay for digital news content: 50% of those who won’t pay said they find that the journalism itself is unsatisfactory in quality.

A report from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford revealed that younger internet users are more likely to pay for digital news content and far less likely to pay for print newspapers.

For example, 60% of those ages 55 or older pay for newspapers, whereas just 27% of those ages 18 to 24 do the same.

Younger respondents in that study were also more interested in digital news content overall, in a country where TV news still rules for most age groups.

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