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Summary:

In the past year, we’ve seen a palpable shift from newspaper and magazine publishers with regard to paid content–while they still don’t kno…

In the past year, we’ve seen a palpable shift from newspaper and magazine publishers with regard to paid content–while they still don’t know how to make paid content work, they know they want to try. A recent report from the American Press Institute underscores this trend: The API reports that 60% of newspaper executives say they’re considering paid content options, even though currently 90% don’t charge for any content online.

Consumers, though, have different ideas. In a new Forrester report, we find that most consumers (80%) say they wouldn’t bother to access newspaper and magazine content online if it were no longer free (no surprise), and the rest are split about how they’d like to pay for content:

It’s especially notable that, while publishers talk about micropayments so much you could design a drinking game around the word, only 3% of consumers say they’d prefer this method of payment for newspaper and magazine content.

This data suggests two things:

1. Publishers should continue to offer free, ad-supported products to the 80% of consumers who won’t pay for content online; and
2. Publishers should offer consumers a choice of multichannel subscriptions, single-channel subscriptions, and micropayments for premium product access.

But one size won’t fit all

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This article originally appeared in Forrester Research.

  1. Matthew Shanahan Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Media companies need to do an about face regarding web analytics. Web analytics give publishers a critical measure of the popularity of the content that is provided, but web analytics, while critical to online businesses, only tell part of the story—providing information about the content, but not about the customer himself. Segmentation and understanding each customer’s demand are critical to solving this problem.

  2. I wonder if the majority of readers who seems to be far from favoring micropayments knows what the micropayments are or could be, given the existing technologies and various payments platforms.

    I bet they don't even realize that they do micro-pay already, while using their phones, sending text messaging, etc. These are all micropayments, often aggregated on a monthly basis and paid "later," via a myriad of plans, but they are micropayments. Payments for digital content can be structured in the same way.

    People's "unwillingness" to use micropayments is over-reported.

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