Polls apart on charging for content
With the issue of charging for online content the hottest topic in publishing circles, polls are popping up everywhere purporting to divine consumer sentiment. But they unfortunately are all over the map.
Thus, the surveys are providing neither guidance nor comfort for publishers as they agonize over whether or how to charge for the valuable content they have been giving away for more than a decade.
On the question of whether consumers would purchase news, sentiment ranges from a high of 53% willing to pay in a poll conducted late in the summer for the American Press Institute to a low of 20% in a survey released this week by Forrester, the independent market-research firm. In a third study, also released this week, the Boston Consulting group found 48% of respondents would shell out for news.
On the question of how much the readers who are willing to pay would be willing to pay for content, the API study got an average of $4.64 per month and the Boston study got an average of $3 a month.
The Boston study, which was conducted internationally, determined that Americans and Australians are cheapskates when it comes to how much they would pay for the news. While the average in the U.S. and Australia was $3 per month, the averages for other countries came in higher: Italy, $7; Spain, $6; France, $5; Germany, $5; Finland, $4; Norway, $4, and United Kingdom, $4.
The price points indentified in the various studies are notably lower than the average $8.33 per month that Steven Brill discusses when he attempts to persuade publishers to adopt his Journalism Online payment system.
It looks like publishers trying to figure out what to do clearly have more figuring to do.