70% of online publishers will charge for content

The Association of Online Publishers recently surveyed its members of newspaper and magazine publishers, TV and radio broadcasters as well as online media, on their views for the future of the UK’s digital publishing industry.

The survey showed a significant shift in attitude towards charging for content with 70% of respondents saying they either already charged, or planned to charge in the future – just 54% gave this response to the same question two years ago.

In its 7th year, the survey gives a particularly interesting insight into the tactics of publishers during the recession.

Of those open to charging for content, the top areas deemed to generate revenue were Special Reports (26%), Downloadable Apps (26%), Archives (16%), and Specific Mobile Content (16%).

In an interview with the Guardian, John Ridding, chief executive of the Financial Times, backs charging for content, challenging what he states is the ‘free is good’ culture when it comes to online news information. Ridding says he “fundamentally believe readers are willing to pay for quality journalism” as “quality journalism requires investment and investment requires revenues."

He further urges online publishers to stake out what’s unique about their offering to enable media owners to focus generating revenue from specialist content, stressing that there was no “one-size-fits-all” solution.

Elsewhere in the AOP survey, 95% of publishers showed enthusiasm for social media with more than half using Twitter to promote their content, 48% similarly using Facebook and a further 45% using YouTube.

Director of AOP, Lee Baker, said, “We’ve all been talking about a tough year for industry and particularly for publishers, but again our Members show their ability to adapt and take on new challenges in the form of exploiting new formats. A strong vote for Mobile and Mobile Apps is encouraging for the industry as a whole; and use of Twitter is a particularly interesting development in terms of use of new mechanisms to publish content.”


6th October 2009

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