Pay Walls: Storm Clouds on the Horizon

I wrote a couple of posts yesterday about newspapers and pay strategies and their look to mobile as a critical new platform. In the first piece, I summarized a survey from The American Press Institute. Today I found a consumer survey commissioned by PaidContent and conducted by Harris. 

Q: What would you do if your favorite news site began charging?

Picture 33

Source: PaidContent UK/Harris Interactive (2009); n=1,188 adults 

For more on age and income segmentation, go to the full article

Only 5% are apparently willing to pay in the abstract. Not bad, but not terrific. Subscription fees from that small minority of users would need to offset advertising losses from all those abandoning the site.

While attitudes and behavior are often disconnected, these data are consistent with other data and anecdotal evidence that confirm newspapers will find it challenging to implement paid strategies.

6 Responses to “Pay Walls: Storm Clouds on the Horizon”

  1. Terry Howard Says:

    These newsies who see a 5% ray of hope need to understand there is a salivating horde who see enormous opportunity in that 74%. If they thought the independent online publishers and bloggers were biting into their share before, they are going to be in a world of pain when they just hand over the rest of the shop to their hated rivals. And they are totally going to do it to. They’ll put that cup of kool-aid right up to their lips and believe the poison swirling around in there will take them aboard the mothership all the way up to the point that the close their eyes forever. It’s kind of fascinating to watch this to tell the truth.

  2. Tim Cohn Says:

    Howard is on a roll!

  3. Terry Howard Says:

    Hah, yeah, the whole newspaper industry debacle always gets a rise out of me.

  4. Stever Says:

    Yes, that was a great comment by Howard. I too am fascinated to watch it all play out.

    For a different, maybe even darker, take on the decline of traditional media and where it goes from here there is this http://www.zerohedge.com/article/curious-snag-debt-equity-restructurings-goldman-and-jpm-do-stealthy-roll-media-industry

    Aaron Wall of seobook.com referenced it in a post recently. Here’s the key quote;

    “Throw companies like Tribune into the mix where JP Morgan will allegedly end up with an majority equity stake, and one wonders why Goldman and JPM were so eager to provide “rescue” financings to virtually the entire distressed media space: both companies knew too well that sooner or later they would end up with full equity control over essentially the most coveted industry: thousands of TV stations, radio channels, newspaper and magazines. If you thought the media propaganda was unbearable now, just wait.”

  5. Newspapers and ‘the Future of News’ « Screenwerk Says:

    […] But free and non-profit news sites such as the Bay Area News Project (which will probably be free) will likely thwart the success of those efforts, unless they’re especially clever and […]

  6. Consumers to Resist Pay Walls « Screenwerk Says:

    […] data are consistent with a recent Harris survey that found largely the same […]

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