New survey of 11,000 people reports that paywalls and apps are becoming a normal means of digital access.
Young people are more willing to pay for online news than any other age group, according to a major study of internet habits.
The survey of 11,000 internet users in nine countries including the UK found that 25- to 34-year-olds are twice as likely to part with their cash for digital news than older readers.
According to the study, 20% of 25- to 34-year-olds said they had paid for online news compared with less than 10% of those aged over 55.
The research, contained in the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism’s Digital News Report 2013, provides headline news to cheer about for the embattled newspaper industry.
Researchers pointed to a “significant shift in public attitudes towards digital news” as they found that the percentage of people paying for digital news in the UK had more than doubled, from 4% to 9% of those surveyed, in the past year.
“We’re starting to see significant shifts in public attitudes to online news, with more people starting to pay for digital news or seeming to accept that in future they will probably have to pay for a service that they currently get free,” said Nic Newman, the author of the study and a research associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
“Paywalls and apps are no longer regarded as novelties, but are now increasingly part of everyday life for many of those wanting access to news.”
Other findings from the survey, compiled by industry marketing body Newsworks, show that 49% of 18- to 24-year-olds read a digital newspaper – the highest reach of any age group. More than two-thirds of this age group said they had read a national newspaper in any format in the week before the survey, compared with 72% of those aged between 25 and 34.
Judy Harman, a director at Newsworks, said: “It’s really encouraging to see the strength of newspaper brands among the UK news audience. It’s great to see that newspapers and destination brands for young people online and that they are considerably more willing to pay for online news, especially if they are reading on tablets.”
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