PCUK/Harris Poll: Print Copies May Convince Readers To Pay Online

Our exclusive paidContent:UK/Harris Interactive poll has this week shown how resistant most consumers are to charging for online newspapers.

But, for publishers, one possible hope that arises on our final day of results is to consider print and online in tandem

While only five percent of people who read a news site at least once a month told us they would pay for online access, when you throw in a free or discounted subscription to the printed paper, that rises to a combined 48 percent

While the proportion of respondents who said they would still not pay remains a majority, it’s a slight one. It seems the printed edition could leverage online subscriptions; not just among existing readers of the paper, but also among those who don’t already buy it.

The message is loud and clear – people continue to believe that touchable products command tangible economic value but, divorced from physicality and its associated costs, that digital content should manifest itself cheaper.

We understand News International is planning to lock parts of The Sunday Times behind a pay wall, possibly to drive its print subscriptions. As my colleague Patrick Smith wrote last month: “Murdoch always stresses the centrality of print. I can