Sorry Publishers, Brits Just Don't Want To Pay

I guess UK publishers already knew, but it turns out us Brits are not very keen on paying for content. In fact, research by AudienceProject shows we are way behind the US, Germany and Nordic markets it surveys.

Just 8% of Brits pay for access to digital content. That's a little over half the rate of America (14%) and nowhere near the staggering 38% who choose to do so in Norway.

When you think about it, however, it's pretty obvious why. Around 40% of Brits go online for news, compared to 27% who rely on the tv. So, we're always talking about less than half of the British news consuming public choosing to fire up a laptop or smartphone to see what's going on in the world.

The trouble is, when it comes to the UK, there is an elephant in the room. You simply do not need to pay for digital content when the excellent BBC has extensive free news coverage for a variety of topics, in addition to the main news, and there is also a wide choice of local news sites. These are all, obviously, provided free of charge, if you take out the small matter of nearly every household having to pay to pay the licence fee (but not for long, if Boris gets his way).

The other elephant in the room is that the biggest news sites are also free. When you look at an attention graph for news in the UK you have the BBC way out ahead with Facebook and the Daily Mail showing strong results. You then get a near plateau across all other sites. 

It's in that flat line of low interest, as an overall percentage of media attention, that you get several other free sites, but also those relying on a paywall, such as The Times and The Telegraph

It's a sad fact of life for any newspaper seeking to appeal to the 8% of Brits who are already paying for online content. With the BBC giving bundles of free content, written and recorded to a high degree of quality and trustworthiness, there really isn't too much of a need to go off subscribing elsewhere. Add the fact that the Mail Online is free and Facebook is there packed with links to let you know what's going on in the world, and you would really have to be going out of your way and super interested in the news to elect to hand over your credit card details.

Today's research tells us what we probably have suspected all along -- Brits have very low uptake of digital content subscriptions because they have far less need of them than other markets. 

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