Pew Research: Outlook Grim for Pay Walls

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As mainstream news organizations increasingly find it difficult to turn a profit in the Internet Age, Pew Research has been studying the attitudes of news consumers toward some of the proposed solutions; and the prospects are pretty grim for news organizations to convince consumers to pay for something that they now get for free: Online economics and consumer attitudes.

The biggest question facing online journalism today is how to pay for it. With revenue declining both online and in legacy platforms news organizations say they are intensifying the search for new models. What kind of new advertising options are out there? How will users respond? And would consumers in the marketplace accept pay walls?

To learn more, PEJ and the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project collaborated on a national phone survey in January 2010 to explore consumers’ willingness to pay for news online and their attitudes and behavior in response to online advertising.

Over all, the evidence suggests the outlook is difficult both for paywalls and for online display advertising. While most people have not been asked to pay for content, even among the most avid news consumers online, only about one in five at this point say they would be willing to pay, and this does not include less voracious news consumers. At the same time, the vast majority of those online, 8 out of 10, say they basically ignore online ads.

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