Paywalls begin to pay off
Recent trends indicate that digital newspaper publishers may have finally found profitable pay models for their content, according to the latest Digital News Report from the Reuters Institute at University of Oxford.
Many publishers have been experimenting with paywalls on their digital content, which seemed like a tough sell for readers used to getting the content for free. However, the study shows that the number of U.S. readers paying for digital news content jumped from 9 to 12 percent since 2012. The same trend is happening in Europe as well, with France and the U.K. seeing a 5 percent increase.
Publishers have developed several methods for generating revenue, including paywalls for “premium” content or allowing access to a certain number of articles before making readers pay. Requiring readers to pay for all or most of a sites content resulted in a 85 to 95 percent drop in site traffic, but sites using less strict models only lost 5 to 15 percent.
With an increasing number of readers accessing their news through digital publishers on multiple platforms, it seems very possible that the use of such pay models will soon become standard. While many readers may not welcome the end of completely free digital content, publishers seeing increasing revenue will.