Study: 90% Of Aussies Unwilling To Pay For Online News

Newspapers on the computer keyboard close up

The overwhelming majority of Australians aren’t keen on paying for online news, while there has been a decline how many use social media to access news, new research has revealed.

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

According to the 2017 Deloitte Media Consumer Survey, 90 per cent of Aussies remain unwilling to pay for online news.

Of those that will pay, trust in the brand and in-depth news analysis are the primary reasons why they would fork out some dollars.

Traditional forms of accessing news such as TV, print newspapers, radio and magazines are stable this year (used by 55 per cent of respondents in 2017, compared to 54 per cent in 2016), while 37 per cent most frequently access digital sources for news – down slightly from 40 per cent last year.

There has also been a decline in those who use social media to access news (14 per cent in 2017 compared to 18 per cent last year).

Deloitte Consulting media leader and co-author of the report, Niki Alcorn, said this modest decline puts social media sites back on par with online newspapers.

“Some of the change might be attributed to the growing awareness of so-called ‘fake news’ – 58 per cent of respondents agree that they have changed the way they access news material online given the prevalence of ‘fake news’,” she said.

While the daily usage of social media platforms remains high, Deloitte’s study shows there are signs that Aussies may be becoming dissatisfied with social media, with 20 per cent of surveyed social media users indicating they don’t enjoy their time on social media, and 46 per cent spend more time on it that they would like.

“We appear to be getting social media fatigue,” said Kimberly Chang, Deloitte’s newly-appointed technology, media and telecommunications leader.

“Daily social media usage has dropped slightly from 61 per cent to 59 per cent over the last year, and 31 per cent of respondents have temporarily or permanently deactivated one or more of their social media accounts in the past year.

“Both trends are driven primarily by leading Millennials.”

The rise of TV and SVOD

Chang also noted that not only is watching TV and video content on any device the preferred entertainment activity for 59 per cent of Australians (alongside browsing the internet), we are also watching more videos or TV show content each week than ever before, and we are binge watching for longer.

“Our report shows we are seeing a rise, not demise, of the viewing of TV-type content,” she said.

“However, we are now watching the content in very different ways, particularly through subscription video on demand (SVOD) services such as Netflix or Stan.

“Australians are combining a number of sources to get more of the content they want, and when they want it.”

Subscriptions to SVOD have increased since last year from 22 per cent to 32 per cent surpassing pay TV subscriptions for the first time. Furthermore, 32 per cent of SVOD subscribers access multiple services to get the right content – up from just 18 per cent in 2016.

Advertising influencers

After word of mouth and its digital equivalent (online reviews from someone we know), TV ads have the greatest influence on advertising decisions, according to Deloitte, with 53 per cent of survey respondents reporting high or medium influence.

The influence of social media advertising has continued to grow this year (36 per cent) to now be on par with news, magazines, radio and billboards.

The study also found that 77 per cent of survey respondents will skip an ad playing before a video, and half will abandon a short video completely if they cannot skip the pre-roll ad. One third use ad-blocking technology to avoid ads altogether.