Over the past few years, publishers have turned to digital paywalls to increase their revenue, as a result of the decline in print advertising. This has for the most part succeeded because people are more willing to pay for news that they trust. As a result of COVID-19, the need for trustworthy and reliable news has escalated, as a result of the false information that is commonly circulated across social media platforms.
According to a survey by consulting firm Altman Solon, retrieved from MediaPost, 30% of Americans are willing to pay for news after COVID-19, and this percentage is even higher among the younger generation, where 53% of people ages 18 to 24 are willing to pay for news. In Canada, new data from Totum Research shows that one in five Canadians would pay to be accurately informed about COVID-19, and people between 18-34 are 47% more likely to pay for accurate COVID-19 news.
However, according to Altman Solon, despite the increased percentage of people willing to pay for news, trust in print advertising has actually declined since the start of the pandemic. That being said, trust in print ads still remains far above the perceived trustworthiness of other media types, especially social media ads, with a net perception level of -39% for social media, and a trust rating above -10% for print ads. In a Canadian context, printed newspapers ads also hold the highest level of trust among Canadians. In fact, half of all Canadians trust printed newspaper ads. This percentage begins to dwindle when looking at digital newspaper ads, TV and radio programs, magazines, and social media networks.
Totum Research also found that printed newspaper ads have the highest effectiveness of all media types, as readers tend to be less annoyed by them. Similarly, 53% of Canadians use Ad Blockers to block ads on computers, tablets, and smartphones, with millennials being the strongest ad blockers at 62%. However, in addition to there being less annoyance regarding print advertisements, people are unable to block them out. Ad engagement in printed newspapers is also almost 2 times higher than average.