Would you pay to read this article in the New York Times? Would you pay to read the news, views, and opinions at disinfo.com? Is there any online news source you couldn’t substitute for free?
Right, I thought so … so is this story just wishful thinking by the mainstream media?
Americans, it turns out, are less willing than people in many other Western countries to pay for their online news, according to a new study by the Boston Consulting Group.
Among regular Internet users in the United States, 48 percent said in the survey, conducted in October, that they would pay to read news online, including on mobile devices. That result tied with Britain for the lowest figure among nine countries where Boston Consulting commissioned surveys. In several Western European countries, more than 60 percent said they would pay.
When asked how much they would pay, Americans averaged just $3 a month, tied with Australia for the lowest figure — and less than half the $7 average for Italians. The other countries included in the study were Germany, France, Spain, Norway and Finland.
“Consumer willingness and intent to pay is related to the availability of a rich amount of free content,” said John Rose, a senior partner and head of the group’s global media practice. “There is more, better, richer free in the United States than anywhere else.”
The question is of crucial interest to the American newspaper industry, which is weighing whether and how to put toll gates on its Web sites, to make up for plummeting print advertising…
[continues in the NYT]