LONDON: Consumers around the world have recorded a marked increase in their willingness to pay for online news content, according to a survey covering nine countries.
The Digital News Report, published by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, found that the number of web users prepared to pay for news on the web rose by more than a third to 11% across the UK, the US, France, Germany and Denmark.
In Spain, Italy, Japan and urban Brazil, this figure climbed to almost 20%. Of the nations for which there was comparative data from last year, the UK, France and Germany reported the steepest increases.
More specifically, some 9% of Britons would now pay for content, up from 4% in 2012. The statistics for France and Germany stood at 13% and 10%, up from 8% and 6% respectively.
While the 12% of Americans who would happily do the same also marked a jump from 9%, figures in Denmark fell slightly to 10% from 12% during this period.
The overall findings may provide some comfort for news providers that have invested heavily in digital news, but Robert Picard, head of research at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, still urged caution.
“[Paid-for] digital news appears to be becoming a product aimed at a niche audience rather than a widely used consumer produce,” he said.
Among the other findings was that 25-34 year olds were the most willing to pay for online news. Elsewhere, the report revealed that 30% of under-35 year olds in the UK use social media for news updates.
Traditional news brands also held up well against rival digital-only news sites in Denmark and the UK, where 79% of online users trusted broadcasters like the BBC and Sky and 60% trusted newspapers.
By contrast, far more consumers in Japan and the US relied on news aggregators and digital-only information providers.
Data sourced from the Reuters Institute, Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff