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Take your pick on how many will pay for news
Saturday, 19th December 2009
A research industry seems to have mushroomed on the back of the ‘free versus paid-for’ online news debate. Market research publishers have been trying to ascertain for some time how much online users would be prepared to pay to view news on the web (see http://www.vivavip.com/go/e27062).
This week paidcontent, in a round up of polls on the subject (http://digbig.com/5batxx) concluded, that while there is a minority of readers who is prepared to pay, there is no agreement amongst research agencies as to how large this minority is. Results vary from Boston Consulting Group’s 48% of respondents who say they are willing to pay for online news, to PCUK/Harris‘ poll which concluded that ony 5% of UK adults would pay to read their favourite online newspaper. After weeks of discusssion on the topic, it would seem that newspaper publishers are non the wiser.
The Financial Times, meanwhile, long an advocate of the ‘fremium’ business model (http://www.vivavip.com/go/e19264), allowing readers access to 10 free articles per month, before requiring a subscription, has announced what it hopes will be more reasons for readers to commit to their £99 annual subscription. The paper has introduced an interactive electronic edition, called FT ePaper (http://digbig.com/5batya), a monthly newsletter from the editor and a weekly email which abstracts the most important FT articles.
According to reports (http://digbig.com/5batxy), subscriptions to the FT are up by 22% from a year ago and now total 121,000. This confirms what many commentators on the subject have argued all year: readers are prepared to pay for online news if publishers offer a niche product, well packaged. (See http://www.vivavip.com/go/e26538)
By Penny Crossland
Penny Crossland is the owner of CH Business Research, a consultancy specialising in investigative research and market intelligence. Penny conducts research projects for clients from a variety of industry sectors, including financial services, management and security consultancy, FMCG, publishing and retail. Fluent in German, she also translates academic papers and corporate material.
Before establishing her business in 2001, Penny was Research Manager at OC&C Strategy Consultants in London. Penny graduated from Bristol University with a degree in German and Politics and has a Masters degree from London University in contemporary German Literature. She became interested in all aspects of business information through working for an industrial market research company in New York.
Penny can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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