Monetizing Newspaper Content

According to a survey conducted for the American Press Institute, reported in Media Buyer/Planner, more than half of newspaper publishers believe readers will pay to access online newspaper content. 51% of publishers say they believe they can successfully charge for content, while 49% either aren't sure or believe paying for content will not work.

But Alan Mutter, in his Reflections of a Newsosaur blog, said "While 68% of the publishers responding to the survey said they thought readers who objected to paying for content would have a difficult time replacing the information they get from newspaper websites, 52% of polled readers said it would be either "very easy" or "somewhat easy" to do so... "

The survey, which was conducted for the latest in the series of industry conferences this year studying how to monetize the valuable content most newspapers give away for free, shows that publishers who are worried about charging for content have good reason to be concerned.

68% of publishers said they thought that, even if readers object to paying for content, they would have a difficult time finding that information in other places, while 52% said they thought it would be either very easy or somewhat easy for readers to find replacement content.

More data from the study includes:

  • 58% of publishers said they are considering charging for content
  • 49% said they have no timetable in mind for how that will play out
  • 12% said they plan to charge for content by the end of the year
  • 18% said they will do so in the first quarter of 2010
  • 10% said they would begin charging by the beginning of next summer
  • 10% currently charge for some portion of the web content

According to the study:

  • 38% of the respondents say they will limit full access to stories to monthly subscribers
  • 28% say they will likely offer monthly subscriptions as well as micropayments for individual articles
  • 15% expect to offer monthly subscriptions, micropayments, and "day passes"
  • 19% expect news articles to remain free but that they will produce content specifically for the website which would be behind a pay wall
  • 9% say they may adopt a system which would make visitors pay separately for each story they want to read

For the report presentation, please go to Mediabuyerplanner here, or to review the complete slide presentation  of the Belden Revenue Initiatives Survey, visit here. In addition, comments from Alan D. Mutter can be seen here.




2 comments about "Monetizing Newspaper Content".
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  1. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, September 21, 2009 at 12:03 p.m.


    Once again you're on the money, which is exactly where the newspapers aren't.

  2. Noemi Pollack from The Pollack PR Marketing Group, September 21, 2009 at 3:43 p.m.

    What if, hypothetically speaking, one day all publishers that are now offering free news content on the web would just shut down? What a hullabaloo would ensue!

    It was a mistake in the first place to have all the news free at our fingertips, literally. It can be rectified. There is no question that if I cannot get the NYT, for instance, on the internet, I will surely pay for it, online or offline. I

    Noemi Pollack

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