I missed this yesterday, but Media Week
have reported a survey which shows that nine out of ten UK consumers won't pay for news stories online.
The study of 2,000 consumers makes grim reading for Rupert Murdoch who is expected to launch his 'value-gates' (chortle) on the Sunday Times in the next few weeks. According to this survey, 91% of UK consumers wouldn't pay for news online and 90% would be unwilling to pay for news analysis. It doesn't bode well for the future either - of those aged 16 to 24, 86% would never pay for news online, while in the 45-54 age sectors, 96% said they would not pay. 5% would pay for content on a piecemeal basis and 4% for a subscription.
And this, don't forget, is a UK audience. The Auguest ABCes showed the Times website at short of 19m unique users. The norm in the market is for a 60-40 split for overseas to UK users. Let's assume that the overseas users have even less interest in paying for news. So you're left with targetting 7.6m. And four per cent of that figure (ie those who would subscribe) is less than 300,000 users.
So you'll have to charge those poor souls quite a lot to (a) make up for the lost in advertising revenues and (b) to cover News International's current losses (reported at £2.1bn).
Good luck with that.
And incidentally, the Media Week report highlighted another issue - the site was bust and gave an error page the first few times I tried. What will any site do for a subscriber when that happens? Issue mass (if tiny) refunds?