News is becoming more mobile, more social, and more real-time.
This year’s survey reveals continuing shifts in how, when, and where people access the news, with digital patterns becoming more entrenched.
Digital news is finally starting to pay
Newspapers are starting to believe that business models to support digital journalism have emerged. Their increasing optimism is driven by two factors:
- The growing revenue from paywalls and digital apps for tablets & smartphones
- A shift in public attitudes towards paying for online news
Although there is reason for publishers to feel some relief, harnessing the new revenue streams is not a simple choice of whether or not you ask digital readers to pay. A lot of strategic decisions have to be made about which of the different pay systems newspapers adopt, given they produce varying results and some newspapers are better placed to benefit from pay systems than others.
The two most common strategies, hard paywalls and freemium, metered models, can be both successful. With hard paywalls a loss between 85% to 95% of traffic to the website is measured. This can be an acceptable business outcome if more income is gained from consumers than advertising revenue lost due to reduced traffic. Where with freemium and metered models a reduced traffic around 5% to 15% is measured, which shows it is possible to effectively generate both sales income and traffic-driven advertising income.
Both strategies are beginning to pay off. Some large publishers are now generating 15% to 25% of their total revenue from digital media, with audiences as much as 10 times larger than their print editions because the digital platforms attract new users.