The Media Blog Survey on paid content

August 10, 2009

The Media Blog have published the results of their own survey into charging online. With over 1,000 respondents, it may provide some clarity as to whether users will pay for online news.

Of course, those who respond to surveys like this, from a media-focused website, are unlikely to be representative of the entire online population. Still, it’s worth an extract, and not one that makes for especially promising reading for News International:

An overwhelming 75 per cent of consumers said they do not believe any of the three UK News International newspapers produce the kind of content which cannot easily be found elsewhere.

There was some reassurance for The Times, with 21 per cent of respondents saying they believe the paper does produce exclusive content. However, only four per cent of respondents said the same of the News of the World, while not a single respondent said The Sun offered anything they can’t find elsewhere online.

The most urgent problem for Murdoch would appear to be with the kind of content consumers are prepared to pay for. Not a single respondent said they would be prepared to pay for celebrity gossip or sport which account for much of The News of the World and The Sun’s content.

Columnists (28 per cent) and exclusive interviews (13 per cent) were the two most popular types of content respondents would be prepared to pay for.

You can still vote in Fee or Free’s poll into charging online, and see an analysis of the results so far. What’s clear from both is that there may be something of a gap between what some newspaper owners hope users will pay for, and what those users will actually end up paying for. Any market research conducted by those advocating charging online would make for interesting reading.