Young tablet owners more willing to pay for news

Paying for online news is still a minority sport – but participation may be growing thanks to tablet computers.

Those who have paid for digital news ranges from 12 percent in Denmark to four percent in the UK, according to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism’s new Digital News Report 2012. And only six percent of survey respondents said they would be willing, in future, to pay for news from sources they liked.

But, while willingness was just five percent for computer access, it rose to 16 percent on tablet and 12 percent on mobile. Also encouraging – those aged 16-24 and 25-34 are most willing to pay (13 percent and 11 percent, respectively), compared with just five percent of 35-54s and just three percent of over-55s.

The research suggests that, as more younger people buy tablet devices, willingness to pay money for the news products many publishers are delivering to them may grow.

Actual propensity to pay amongst this segment also outstrips declared willingness – 21 percent of tablet owners say they have previously bought digital news on the devices.

“Denmark is slightly unusual in that one of the largest newspaper groups, Berlingske, has introduced payments for individual articles such as gadget reviews, travel, and slimming guides,” according to report authors.

“Most Danish newspapers also charge for mobile and tablet news apps, either as a single payment or as part of an ongoing subscription.”