Apparently a new report by YouGov Sixth Sense has found that Britons only consider quality journalism worth paying for in print. Not when it's online.
It's sure to raise interesting questions for publisher News International and its bullish chairman Rupert Murdoch, who today erected the first paywalls around the entire content of two UK news sites.
From today users of The Times and Sunday Times websites will be asked to pay £1 per day or £2 per week. But whilst the research found 60 per cent of UK adults to be willing to pay for a quality newspaper only 2 per cent would pay for that same content online. Even if the online content wasn’t available free anywhere else the figure of Britons prepared to pay for it rises to only 4 per cent. And whopping 83 per cent of those surveyed said they would decline to pay for online content altogether.
Recent data recently by Experian Hitwise showed that from the week ending on 22 May to 19 June, The Times' online market share had dropped from 4.37 per cent to 2.67 per cent which it attributed to its new registration requirements and upcoming paywall. Where will things go from here?
Commenting on the habits of readers who have been accessing free online content for almost a decade, SixthSense's research director James McCoy said, “You are not going to one day start compliantly paying for the same content.”
Owned by giant media conglomerate News Corporation, whose assets include everything from television stations and cable programming to satellite television, magazines and newspapers, books and sporting events, thetimes.co.uk and thesundaytimes.co.uk are likely to have their inscription fees packaged up with charges for other News Corp. products and services in order to survive. But whether this move will actually achieve anything in terms of paving the way for monetising online journalistic content, and exactly how it pans out, is yet to be seen...