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Jan 13, 2010

Will Australians Pay for Content Online - New Survey Data

Well, happy new year everyone, and I hope you have not all deserted this blog while I have been taking a break from news junkiness. I was going to kick off with a round up of what ha

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Well, happy new year everyone, and I hope you have not all deserted this blog while I have been taking a break from news junkiness.

I was going to kick off with a round up of what has been happening while I have been away, but as is the nature of the beast, the news of the moment takes precedence. The round up piece will be written shortly.

But in the meantime, I have a story in the Crikey email today about a new survey on the crucial issue of whether Australians are willing to pay for newspapers online. As promised, here are the detailed survey results, with cross tabulations for age, locality and degree of news junkiness.

This survey was undertaken by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation at Swinburne University’s  Institute for Social Research, and is part of the World Internet Project (link http://worldinternetproject.net/home.html) which is the leading international source of research on how people use the internet. Eight hundred Australian internet users responded to the question “A daily newspaper costs around $1.50.  How much would you be prepared to pay to read an online newspaper?”

The results show that over seventy per cent would not consider paying anything at all. Young people are even less likely to pay, with 76 per cent of those under 24 saying they will not shell out.

Q41 Cost Newspaper * Q80AAGE Crosstabulation

Q80AAGE

18-24

25-34

35-49

50-64

65+

Total

Q41 Cost Newspaper $1.50 Count

9

12

19

15

2

57

% within Q80AAGE

7.6%

7.2%

7.2%

8.0%

2.9%

7.1%

$1.00 Count

7

13

16

6

4

46

% within Q80AAGE

5.9%

7.8%

6.0%

3.2%

5.7%

5.7%

50c Count

7

17

18

15

6

63

% within Q80AAGE

5.9%

10.2%

6.8%

8.0%

8.6%

7.8%

Less than .50c Count

4

12

23

14

8

61

% within Q80AAGE

3.4%

7.2%

8.7%

7.5%

11.4%

7.6%

Wouldn t consider it Count

90

111

185

133

48

567

% within Q80AAGE

76.3%

66.9%

69.8%

71.1%

68.6%

70.3%

Don’t Know Count

1

1

4

4

2

12

% within Q80AAGE

.8%

.6%

1.5%

2.1%

2.9%

1.5%

Total Count

118

166

265

187

70

806

% within Q80AAGE

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

Here are the results cross tabulated by reading habits online. They show that those who are willing to read long pieces online are more likely to be willing to pay, suggesting that ease of reading online material is going to be important.

Q41 Cost Newspaper * Q42 Reading Online Crosstabulation

Q42 Reading Online

Will only read what is necessary to navigate around the web

Are prepared to read short articles (say less than 500 words) only

Will read longer articles and essays

Will read any length of text

Don’t know

Total

Q41 Cost Newspaper $1.50 Count

17

19

2

19

0

57

% within Q42 Reading Online

6.8%

6.9%

2.7%

9.5%

.0%

7.1%

$1.00 Count

9

9

8

20

0

46

% within Q42 Reading Online

3.6%

3.3%

11.0%

10.0%

.0%

5.7%

50c Count

12

29

7

15

0

63

% within Q42 Reading Online

4.8%

10.5%

9.6%

7.5%

.0%

7.8%

Less than .50c Count

9

24

9

19

0

61

% within Q42 Reading Online

3.6%

8.7%

12.3%

9.5%

.0%

7.6%

Wouldn’t consider it Count

201

188

46

125

7

567

% within Q42 Reading Online

80.4%

68.4%

63.0%

62.5%

87.5%

70.3%

Don’t Know Count

2

6

1

2

1

12

% within Q42 Reading Online

.8%

2.2%

1.4%

1.0%

12.5%

1.5%

Total Count

250

275

73

200

8

806

% within Q42 Reading Online

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

And here are the results tabulated by how often people look for national and local news online. Depressingly for Rupert Murdoch, they show that “news junkies” – those who check for news several times a day – are those least likely to be willing to pay for it. But the numbers involved are small, so treat the results with caution.

Q41 Cost Newspaper * Q37 Specific Information – Look for national news Crosstabulation

Q37 Specific Information – Look for national news

Never

Less than monthly

Monthly

Weekly

Daily

Several times a day

Don’t Know

Total

Q41 Cost Newspaper $1.50 Count

17

5

9

11

15

0

0

57

% within Q37 Specific Information – Look for national news

7.9%

7.5%

9.0%

6.6%

6.2%

.0%

.0%

7.1%

$1.00 Count

8

2

2

11

21

1

1

46

% within Q37 Specific Information – Look for national news

3.7%

3.0%

2.0%

6.6%

8.7%

6.7%

100.0%

5.7%

50c Count

8

9

6

10

30

0

0

63

% within Q37 Specific Information – Look for national news

3.7%

13.4%

6.0%

6.0%

12.4%

.0%

.0%

7.8%

Less than .50c Count

9

3

4

23

21

1

0

61

% within Q37 Specific Information – Look for national news

4.2%

4.5%

4.0%

13.8%

8.7%

6.7%

.0%

7.6%

Wouldn’t consider it Count

169

47

78

109

151

13

0

567

% within Q37 Specific Information – Look for national news

78.6%

70.1%

78.0%

65.3%

62.7%

86.7%

.0%

70.3%

Don’t Know Count

4

1

1

3

3

0

0

12

% within Q37 Specific Information – Look for national news

1.9%

1.5%

1.0%

1.8%

1.2%

.0%

.0%

1.5%

Total Count

215

67

100

167

241

15

1

806

% within Q37 Specific Information – Look for national news

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

Q41 Cost Newspaper * Q37 Specific Information – Look for local news (local community) Crosstabulation

Q37 Specific Information – Look for local news (local community)

Never

Less than monthly

Monthly

Weekly

Daily

Several times a day

Don t Know

Total

Q41 Cost Newspaper $1.50 Count

22

10

4

14

7

0

0

57

% within Q37 Specific Information – Look for local news (local community)

8.0%

10.8%

3.9%

8.3%

4.6%

.0%

.0%

7.1%

$1.00 Count

9

4

4

12

16

0

1

46

% within Q37 Specific Information – Look for local news (local community)

3.3%

4.3%

3.9%

7.1%

10.5%

.0%

100.0%

5.7%

50c Count

14

8

12

11

18

0

0

63

% within Q37 Specific Information – Look for local news (local community)

5.1%

8.6%

11.7%

6.5%

11.8%

.0%

.0%

7.8%

Less than .50c Count

18

5

8

15

14

1

0

61

% within Q37 Specific Information – Look for local news (local community)

6.5%

5.4%

7.8%

8.9%

9.2%

7.1%

.0%

7.6%

Wouldn’t consider it Count

209

65

71

113

96

13

0

567

% within Q37 Specific Information – Look for local news (local community)

76.0%

69.9%

68.9%

67.3%

63.2%

92.9%

.0%

70.3%

Don’t Know Count

3

1

4

3

1

0

0

12

% within Q37 Specific Information – Look for local news (local community)

1.1%

1.1%

3.9%

1.8%

.7%

.0%

.0%

1.5%

Total Count

275

93

103

168

152

14

1

806

% within Q37 Specific Information – Look for local news (local community)

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

And some stuff cross tabulating the results by internet use. All pretty much as one would expect.

Q41 Cost Newspaper * Q8 & 11 a&b Using internet at home ordinal 3 groups Crosstabulation

Q8 & 11 a&b Using internet at home ordinal 3 groups

5 hours or less

5- 20 hours

More than 20 hours

Total

Q41 Cost Newspaper $1.50 Count

23

17

17

57

% within Q8 & 11 a&b Using internet at home ordinal 3 groups

8.5%

5.3%

7.9%

7.1%

$1.00 Count

12

19

15

46

% within Q8 & 11 a&b Using internet at home ordinal 3 groups

4.4%

5.9%

7.0%

5.7%

50c Count

18

19

26

63

% within Q8 & 11 a&b Using internet at home ordinal 3 groups

6.7%

5.9%

12.1%

7.8%

Less than .50c Count

15

27

19

61

% within Q8 & 11 a&b Using internet at home ordinal 3 groups

5.6%

8.4%

8.8%

7.6%

Wouldn’t consider it Count

199

232

135

566

% within Q8 & 11 a&b Using internet at home ordinal 3 groups

73.7%

72.5%

62.8%

70.3%

Don’t Know Count

3

6

3

12

% within Q8 & 11 a&b Using internet at home ordinal 3 groups

1.1%

1.9%

1.4%

1.5%

Total Count

270

320

215

805

% within Q8 & 11 a&b Using internet at home ordinal 3 groups

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

But here is an interesting one, although the results should come with the caution that the numbers of respondents are too low for firm conclusions. Nevertheless, the figures seem to indicate that those urban dwellers with limited access to “quality” newspapers are most likely to be prepared to consider paying for news online. Look at the figures for urban Tasmanians and Western Australians, for example, compared to those for the ACT – which has ready access to all the nation’s broadsheets.

Q41 Cost Newspaper * Q99LOC Crosstabulation

Q99LOC

NSW Urban

NSW Rural

ACT

NT Urban

NT Rural

QLD Urban

QLD Rural

SA Urban

SA Rural

TAS Urban

TAS Rural

VIC Urban

VIC Rural

WA Urban

WA Rural

Total

Q41 Cost Newspaper $1.50 Count

5

6

2

0

2

9

5

1

2

1

0

8

6

8

2

57

% within Q99LOC

3.4%

9.0%

8.7%

.0%

14.3%

8.5%

8.3%

2.6%

8.7%

6.7%

.0%

5.8%

8.6%

14.0%

7.4%

7.1%

$1.00 Count

5

4

0

2

0

6

1

4

1

1

1

11

1

4

5

46

% within Q99LOC

3.4%

6.0%

.0%

14.3%

.0%

5.7%

1.7%

10.5%

4.3%

6.7%

14.3%

8.0%

1.4%

7.0%

18.5%

5.7%

50c Count

9

3

0

0

0

11

5

4

3

3

1

12

4

7

1

63

% within Q99LOC

6.1%

4.5%

.0%

.0%

.0%

10.4%

8.3%

10.5%

13.0%

20.0%

14.3%

8.7%

5.7%

12.3%

3.7%

7.8%

Less than .50c Count

13

9

2

0

0

5

2

3

2

2

1

10

4

4

4

61

% within Q99LOC

8.8%

13.4%

8.7%

.0%

.0%

4.7%

3.3%

7.9%

8.7%

13.3%

14.3%

7.2%

5.7%

7.0%

14.8%

7.6%

Wouldn’t consider it Count

112

45

19

10

12

74

47

26

15

7

4

95

54

33

14

567

% within Q99LOC

76.2%

67.2%

82.6%

71.4%

85.7%

69.8%

78.3%

68.4%

65.2%

46.7%

57.1%

68.8%

77.1%

57.9%

51.9%

70.3%

Don’t Know Count

3

0

0

2

0

1

0

0

0

1

0

2

1

1

1

12

% within Q99LOC

2.0%

.0%

.0%

14.3%

.0%

.9%

.0%

.0%

.0%

6.7%

.0%

1.4%

1.4%

1.8%

3.7%

1.5%

Total Count

147

67

23

14

14

106

60

38

23

15

7

138

70

57

27

806

% within Q99LOC

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

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8 comments

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8 thoughts on “Will Australians Pay for Content Online – New Survey Data

  1. Would You Pay For A Newspaper Online? | Bookbee

    […] Publishers like Rupert Murdoch see the future of newspapers as charging for content online, but a recent study suggests most Australians aren’t prepared to cough up. (more from Crikey!…) […]

  2. Scott Ewing

    NickE, We certainly will be publishing more of the results- our report will be out in the next month and details of publication can be found here http://www.cci.edu.au/projects/digital-futures

  3. Would You Pay For A Newspaper Online? | Lifehacker Australia

    […] Will Australians Pay for Content Online – New Survey Data [Crikey] Tagged:ask the readersaunewspapersreading […]

  4. News rings management changes as it plans for paywall « Woolly Days

    […] the news comes on the same day as the result of a survey shown at The Content Makers that showed 70 percent of Australians would not be prepared to pay for Internet content. The survey […]

  5. Margaret Simons

    Mark, Yes the survey sample is of an adequate and meaningful size, but what I meant is that by the time you get down to comparing Tassie with the ACT, for example, the actual numbers of people involved are small, as the tables show. So that aspect of the results should be treated with caution. As for the big picture – the numbers of people who think at this stage that they would or would not pay – the survey size is certainly adequate for conclusions to be drawn on people’s current attitudes.

    But, Michael, I agree there may well be a difference between a question asked in the abstract, and people’s actual behavior when it comes down to a particular spending choice. I guess this is what Rupert is banking on.

  6. NickE

    Is this data going into any journal in particular? Would prefer to see a few more stats, like some measurements of error at the least, and some statistical comparison across groups.

  7. Michael Slezak

    While these results are interesting in the abstract, I suspect they basically irrelevant to the question of whether people will pay for news online. It is not at all surprising that people *say* they are not willing to pay much for news online when (i) they currently get it for free and (ii) they don’t know what exactly it is that will be on offer.

  8. Mark Bahnisch

    Margaret, I’m not sure what you meant in the Crikey piece about the numbers of respondents. The sample should be big enough to be representative of the population with about a 3-4% margin of error, if the survey’s been conducted professionally (as I’m sure it has). Doubling the sample, for instance, would only give you a slight increase in confidence that it was representative.

    Provided you have a sufficient number, statistically, that’s all you need.

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