Overview:

Over the past decade, as new digital media organizations emerge and as established news organizations confront continuous disruption and decline of traditional advertising (and print subscription) revenues, almost all media companies are pursuing some form of a digital reader revenue model.

qualitative study out of Amsterdam examines “why don’t people pay for news,” and Mark Coddington and Seth Lewis co-wrote this commentary for Nieman Lab.

Over the past decade, as new digital media organizations emerge and as established news organizations confront continuous disruption and decline of traditional advertising (and print subscription) revenues, almost all media companies are pursuing some form of a digital reader revenue model. 

The study identifies four reasons why (most) people don’t pay for news today:

  • Price
  • Adequate news available elsewhere for free
  • Concerns about commitment
  • Delivery and technical problems

We could write essays about any one of these, but in short we focus on three things to overcome these concerns:

  • Use a smart trial pricing strategy to deliver different price points to on-the-fence consumers, and overcome the commit-o-phobes.
  • Continue to invest in good UX and empower consumers to manage their own accounts. Every tech stack has its friction, ours included, but we’re thinking every day about approaches to make it easier for our publishers and their readers.
  • Focus on why people do pay for news. Our audience survey of more than 2,000 news consumers suggests pricing is less of a motivator than connection, mission, and responsiveness to the community and its needs.