Paying for the News

How much would you pay to stay up-to-date and in touch with your local community?

With discretionary income becoming tighter (Bloomberg March 2018), users are being forced to evaluate this very question.  But, we don’t have to wait on an answer to which way readers will go. In 2017, The Digital News Report conducted a study that showed an almost doubling in the growth of readers paying for news online.

What does it look like when a newspaper charges for news online?

From a Reynolds Journalism Institute report, we know that 77% of newspapers have implemented a paid content model.  Those models generally take on one of the following forms:

  • Hard Paywall (.4%) - In this model, no news is available to users unless they have paid to access the content.This model is the least popular of all the options.
  • Metered Paywall (72%) - In this model, users are allowed access to a set number of stories per month (generally 5 – 10 stories), before being required to pay.
  • Freemium / Registration (5%) - In this model, users need to register (generally with an email) before they are allowed access to news content.
  • Survey Based (3%) - In this model, users need to complete a survey before accessing news content.
  • Free (20%) - In this model, news content is open and free to anyone who visits the news media property.

If a user is paying for content, the cost generally ranges between $50 and $100 / year.

Why are users paying for news?

Multiple factors can lead people to pay for news content, but a recent study (American Press Institute, Feb 2018) helps to uncover 9 buckets that users tend to fall into:

  • Digital Paywall Converters: These users have encountered a newspapers paywall and are still hungry for more news, through either print or digital means.
  • Topic Hunters: Users who crave a particular type of content (ex. High school sports, local politics, etc.) are likely to pay for local news.
  • Locally Engaged: These users are concerned about their community and find newspapers the best source to stay informed and up-to-date.
  • Social-Media Discovers: After uncovering their local media through Facebook, Twitter or other popular social media channels, these users have decided to trade their hard-earned dollars for more content from their local newspapers.
  • Journalism Advocates: These users want to actively support journalism and are willing to pay to do so.
  • Life Changers: A recent change in lifestyle has prompted this user type to pay for news.These life milestones tend to be major ones (ex. moving to a new area, buying a home, having children, etc.)
  • Coupon Clippers: Long a mainstay of newspapers, these bargain hunters return to the newspaper on a regular basis to find sales, deals and coupons.
  • Print Fans: These users, who tend to have more leisure time, enjoy the experience of reading their news in a print format.
  • Friends and Family: Pass along readers who have stories emailed, shared or physically given to them and decided to subscribe.



What does this mean for Advertisers?

When choosing your next local advertising buy, look to the medium that users are paying to use.  Newspapers continue to attract new readers in both print and digital, providing a strong vehicle for your advertising message.

If you need assistance placing into any newspaper, in print or online, MANSI Media is only one call (717-703-3030) or email ( away.  With over 25 years of experience, we can help you discover the best local options for your message and garner the best possible rate.

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