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Summary:

While it’s practically become cliché to say that web users would be willing to pay for financial news, a PricewaterhouseCoopers study finds…

imageWhile it’s practically become cliché to say that web users would be willing to pay for financial news, a PricewaterhouseCoopers study finds that the possibilities for newspaper publishers are a little less narrow than that. Readers (the survey had more male respondents than female) are fairly amenable to paying for sports — they would be willing to go up to 77 percent of the full price, while finance content would command 97 percent of the highest price publishers might offer. Of course, the likelihood that readers would pay for content tends to diminish as you look at the inclinations of younger users.

PwC defines “willingness to pay” by asking consumers their reactions to the “maximum amount” a publisher would charge. And so, overall, PwC’s respondents would only be willing to pay 62 percent of the highest price for online content. But when it comes to e-paper and mobile, news readers would barely be willing to pay more than 1 percent of the top asking price for content that arrives via those two avenues. The findings were based on an online survey of 4,900 users in Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland the UK and the U.S.

Check out the chart and more after the jump.

Despite the extremely pessimistic view of e-paper and mobile, that attitude could change quickly. Respondents indicated that the main reason for their aversion to those areas had to do with the poor quality of the presentation — for example, text on a mobile phone being too small and lacking dynamic graphics — but as the flurry of news apps that have been coming out the past few months, the look and ease of portable digital reading could turn PwC’s findings on its head. Full report is available here.

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  1. Consumers will only pay for financial news if their company is paying the bill.

  2. K. Warman Kern Tuesday, May 12, 2009

    After scanning the report available on Price Waterhouse Cooper's website, I'm surprised by the conclusion implied by the headline on PaidContent.org.

    Everything is relative. Relative to today's "oversupply" of free news, why would anyone say they would pay?

    More importantly, the study suggests many needs are not filled by free news today and that newspaper companies have solid brand credentials to build from.

    By looking at the glass as half full, the print industry is "leaving money on the table."

    katherine at comradity

  3. Users' "willingness" to buy content is farther qualified by its price, the method of payment, its security and scale/popularity. Asking someone "will you or are you willing to pay for online news" is not enough and might, in fact, be misleading. It is a little like asking someone "will you be willing to pay more taxes?"

    Once other than financial content is available for a fee, the fee is small, the payment easy and secure, prefereably "automatic" (the way some highway tolls are collected, for example) then the percentage of people not only willing but actually paying will be much larger.

    Especially, when people realize that by paying a few cents for quality online content they can "clean" the web from all this "free" yet bogus or unreliable news, from unwanted ads and cookies, and actually even save money by limiting the use of energy and bandwidth. (free advertising is free to individual user but it costs a lot the society to broadcast and store the memory-hungry banner ads and pop-ups, and thus contributs a lot to the CO2 emission!)

    I bet most of the Web users do not know that "free" advertising uses about 30% of the energy necessary to maintain the Internet. This translates into millions of dollars or euros and millions of tons of CO2. Paid content can help reduce these unecessary costs.

  4. Most men are really into sports news. As much as possible, they want the newest update about any sports event as soon as possible. This gives them the courage to push through with this pay content stuff. Indeed, a publisher must spend an extensive research about the effectiveness of this approach that won't affect the number of their clients.

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