Online is close to overtaking TV as the most popular news source for UK consumers, but only 3.8% of people pay for content online.

According to a study by Oliver and Ohibaum, 68% of UK consumers source news content online compared to 75% from TV and 54% in newspapers.

But though only 3.8% pay for online news, the percentage of users paying for content increases on mobile (9%) and tablet (19%).

The data means that news providers will need to rely on advertising rather than pay walls to bring in revenue – something publisher Johnston Press is aiming to do with its new mobile sites.

It also tallies with figures we reported in December that show that US consumers now spend 65 minutes per day consuming media on their mobile compared to just 26 minutes per day reading newspapers.

The comparatively high number of people paying for content on tablet devices is probably due to the fact that users are likely to have more money to spend and are less price sensitive.

Statistics we reported last month show that iPad conversion rates are twice as high as on desktop, so users are obviously willing to pay for services using their tablet.

Therefore paid-for content on tablet devices could prove to be a good revenue stream for publishers.

David Moth

Published 3 January, 2012 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (1)



The numbers they use are rather small to draw any kind of conclusion and if we use the IAB stats of tablet penetration in the UK (5% of the population) that brings you to roughly 2m-ish tablets. I'd say there's a definite age and gender bias at the moment that's skewing the data - these are people who have paid in excess of £300 pounds for a device that's very different from a contract smartphone (where the cost isn't as big upfront and people moan on various app stores that 99p apps are a 'ripoff').

Economist also ran a good presentation on 'lean back media' - perhaps you'll disagree with the term, but it represents exactly what people are doing: using their tablets between 7 and 12 PM (as you also reported). People read deep and long when they're on tablets so they'll feel they get better value out of paying for something; more often than not good tablet apps require a lot of initial investment in order to provide quality content - you don't just whip one together and put it out there for free (newspaper subscriptions aside) so these may all be a reasonable explanations as to why tablet users actually pay.

It'll be interesting to see what happens as the market grows, more devices come along and it's not just the 'reasonably well off' buying tablets. If these are people who used to read newspapers but have now moved to the tablet, what happens to those who refused to pay for news anyway? Are they going to pay up on their tablet? Maybe! Maybe not.

over 6 years ago

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