Millennials Paying For Access To News

According to the Media Insight Project, a program of the American Press Institute and The Associated Press, in a series of major studies on the habits of news consumers in the United States, the vast majority of Millennials, Americans age 18 to 34, regularly use paid content for entertainment or news.

Moreover, a younger adult’s willingness to pay for news is correlated with his or her broader beliefs about the value of news. The Millennials who want to stay connected with the world, who are interested in news, and who are more engaged with news on social networks are the most likely to be willing to personally pay for news.

Millennials who do regularly use, and often personally pay for, news content, challenge the notion that Millennials believe everything on the web must be free, says the report. But there are still significant obstacles that will make a paid or subscription model a challenge for publishers looking to reach the next generation of news consumers.

53% of US Millennials report having regularly consumed paid news content, in print, digital, or combined formats in the past year, according to a recent report from The Media Insight Project. 40% of Millennials say they have paid for news products or services out of their own pocket in the past year.

Millennials over the age of 21 are about twice as likely as those 18-21 to pay for news personally; 44% of respondents age 30-34 pay for news out of their own pocket, compared with 23% of those 18-21 years old.

Precent of Millennials Who Personally Pay for News


Approx % of Millennials









Source: The Media Insight Project, November 2015

38% of respondents say they have regularly consumed paid print news products (newspapers, magazines, etc.) in the past year; 41% have consumed combined print/digital news products, and 21% from digital-only outlets.

Regular Consumption Of Paid News

News Resource

% of Millennials Consuming

Use only print news


Use both print and digital news


Use only digital news


Source: The Media Insight Project, November 2015

Some 21% of respondents say they regularly pay for magazines themselves, and 15% say they regularly pay for print newspapers.

Not surprisingly, Millennials who believe keeping up with the news is extremely or very important, are significantly more likely to personally pay for news compared with those who do not.

Millennials Personally Paying For News

News Source

Approx.% of Millennials

Print magazines


Print newspaper


Digital news app


Digital magazine


Digital newspaper


Email newsletter


Source: The Media Insight Project, November 2015

However, even among Millennials who believe keeping up with the news is important, just 50% pay for news products out of their own pockets.

Importance of Keeping Up

Importance of News

% Paying Out of Own Pocket

Keeping up with news is extremely or very important


Keeping up is somewhat important


Keeping up is not very or not at all important


Source: The Media Insight Project, November 2015

Facebook, television, and search engines are the most commonly used sources to learn about topics—both for Millennials who believe keeping up with the news is important and for those who do not, says the report.

Commonly Used Sources For News

Source For Topic

Most Common for Those Who Pay

Most Common for Non-Payers

Traffic of weather

Local TV station

Local TV station

Crime and public safety



National politics and government



Science and technology

Search engine

Search engine

Info about own city, town, neighborhood

Local TV


Social issues like abortion, race, gay rights



Health care and medical info

Search engine


Environment and natural disasters

Local TV


Schools and education


Word of mouth

Foreign or international news

National TV


Business and the economy

National TV

Search engine

Religion and faith

Word of mouth


Source: The Media Insight Project, November 2015

For additional information from the Media Insight Report, please visit here.


2 comments about "Millennials Paying For Access To News".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, November 17, 2015 at 8:12 a.m.

    Frankly, "paid for in the past year" is a pretty poor way to define interest in news. All of the research indicates that the average millennial is much less interested in news about the world, politics, etc than older people, though if you broaden the definition  of news to include sports, entertainment business/celebrity gossip, etc. this generalization might not apply.

  2. Don Scott from BH Media Group, Inc., November 19, 2015 at 8:53 a.m.

    These numbers don't inspire confidence in the printed newspaper as a future source for news. Agreed with Ed that the one year time frame is a bit long for determining active interest.

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