Poll: Most won't pay to read newspapers online

With print newspapers striving to survive by hopping onto the Web, new Harris poll finds 77 percent of online adults wouldn't pay to read a newspaper's content online.

Would you pay to read your favorite newspaper online? Most say no, at least according to a new Harris poll.

With traditional print newspapers struggling to turn a profit, many have turned to the Web as a means to stay afloat. While some offer their online content free of charge, other papers have played around with subscriptions by charging readers a monthly fee. But that strategy may backfire, says a Harris poll released Wednesday.

Among more than 2,000 online adults surveyed, 77 percent said they wouldn't pay anything to read a newspaper's stories on the Web. And among those willing to pay, 19 percent would cough up between $1 and $10 a month; only 5 percent would shell out more than $10 each month.

Harris Interactive

The poll also revealed what many newspapers have already experienced--that readership of traditional news is steadily dropping. Just 43 percent of the people surveyed said they read a newspaper each day, either in print or online. Around 72 percent read a paper once a week, while 81 percent read only once a month. And 10 percent said they never read a newspaper.

One factor in the decline of the daily newspaper is age. The younger you are, the less interested you seem to be in reading the daily news. Among folks 55 and older, 64 percent still read a daily paper. Among those 45 to 54, 44 percent catch a daily paper, while 36 percent of adults 35 to 44 do. But of those 18 to 24, only 23 percent said they read a paper each day, while 17 percent said they never do.

Harris Interactive

Following last year's trend, more newspapers are likely to either shut down this year or change to a new business model, notes Harris. But if people won't pay to read news online, the challenge remains for news outlets to find another way to survive.

Conducted with Adweek Media, the Harris poll surveyed 2,136 adults online on December 14 and 16 of last year.

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About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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