Research shows more people pay for news online, but most people don’t

2021 was an important year for journalism and the researchers at the Reuters Institute identified a number of findings that will still be relevant in 2022.  One of their findings examines the challenge of paying for online news in countries around the world. 

 In Canada, the Reuters research finds that only 13% of respondents paid for online news content in the past year (digital subscription, combined print/digital subscription or one-off payment for an article, app or e-edition).  English Canada is slightly higher at 14% and French Canada is slightly lower at 12%.  Recent data from Vividata also finds that 17% of Canadians would be willing to pay for newspaper content online.

Reuters:  More people pay for news online, but most people don’t

The last year has seen more quality journalism go behind paywalls. El País in Spain, El Tiempo in Colombia, and News 24 in South Africa are amongst those to have started their paywall journeys in the midst of the pandemic. Overall progress remains slow. Across 20 countries where publishers have been actively pushing digital subscriptions we find 17% saying that they have paid for some kind of online news in the last year. That’s up by two percentage points in the last year and up five since 2016 (12%).

Despite this, it is important to note that the vast majority of consumers in these countries continue to resist paying for any online news. The most successful countries are Norway 45% (+3) and Sweden 30% (+3) – though some countries like Switzerland 17% (+4) and the Netherlands 17% (+3) also saw increases in 2021. Around a fifth (21%) now pay for at least one online news outlet in the United States, 20% in Finland, and 13% in Australia. By contrast, just 9% say they pay in Germany and 8% in the UK.