A new study has revealed the number of Australians who pay to read news online has doubled in the past four years, although the figures remain relatively small given the overall population.
According to the Digital News Report 2020 – an international survey co-ordinated by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism – the number of Australians making ongoing payments for news online has increased to eight per cent in 2020, up from four per cent four years ago.
In relation to Australian audiences, the global report noted: “While the number of Australians paying for news online is still relatively low, there are signs that consumer behaviour might be changing.
“There has been a steady increase in ongoing payment for a subscription to online news, which is both the most common and fastest growing method of payment,” it said.
The study found that Gen Ys were the group most likely to pay for news (20 per cent). While Gen Zs and the Boomers were the least likely to open their wallets (11 per cent).
According to Nielsen data published monthly on B&T, Australian news sites have enjoyed a 24 per cent uplift in traffic during CV-19.
According to May’s data, of the 10 most visited news sites only three – The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Daily Telegraph – were behind paywalls.
The Digital News Report 2020 was conducted in Australia between January 17 and February 8 via an online questionnaire of almost 2200 respondents.
“The continued growth in online payment for digital news services possibly reflects a broader acceptance of subscription news services and a recent rise in the number of online news websites putting up paywalls,” the report noted. “This is consistent with the trend in other English-speaking countries.”
“Among respondents, there is strong appreciation of the importance of independent journalism. The data suggests that those who value independent journalism are more likely to pay for news online,” the report says.
“Almost one-fifth of those who agree that independent journalism is extremely or very important (18 per cent) pay for news, compared to only 11 per cent of those who view it as somewhat, not very or not at all important,” the study found.
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