WEDNESDAY 30 JUN 2010 2:54 PM


Only one person in five is prepared to pay to read online news content, according to research findings published this week. The research, conducted by YouGov Sixth Sense, shows that  83% of the population would refuse to pay to read news online.

The research, undertaken shortly before The Times began their move towards a content paywall, highlights the reluctance amongst consumers to pay for news which they have hitherto been allowed to access for free.

Only 2% of the 2,160 adults polled said they were prepared to shell out for online content in the current format, while a further 4% would pay on the grounds that that content was not available anywhere else.

The Times is currently allowing free access to its news, but only to those who have registered. News International’s (owner of The Times) chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, said it was "a crucial step towards making the business of news an economically exciting proposition".   The Times is expected to commence charging next month, with prices set at £1 per day and £2 per week.

Other findings in YouGov’s research,  , highlight a remarkable inconsistency towards paid content.  Despite the reluctance to pay for online content, 44% of YouGov’s respondents would rather take a paid-for newspaper rather than a free one.

Commenting on the findings, Research Director for YouGov SixthSense, James McCoy, said, “In every walk of life consumers expect to get the quality they pay for, or at least something close to it. There is no reason why this shouldn’t also apply to newspapers. Readers feel that the money they regularly hand over for newspaper content will sustain the depth and quality of writing they have come to expect.”