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More consumers paying for online news

Posting in Technology

The younger generation is the most willing to pay for digital news, and is likely to get it from a smartphone or tablet. 

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The Internet has habituated us to expect our online news for free, but that is starting to change as more consumers than a year ago are paying for it and as young people purchase via apps on tablets and smartphones, a study shows.

"Since our last survey, we've seen a significant rise in the number or respondents paying for online news - albeit from a low base," said the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in Digital News Report 2013.

Reuters reported that 12 percent of U.S. readers said they had paid for digital news in the last year, up from 9 percent a year earlier; 13 percent said they had paid in France, up from 8 percent; and 9 percent paid in the U.K., up from 4 percent. The nine-country survey had exceptions. For instance, the number of people who paid for digital news in Denmark declined.

Young people--25-to-34-years old--were "the most willing" to pay across all countries, Reuters noted in the report's "payng for digital news section." Tablet owners were twice as likely to pay than were PC users, a finding that could reflect their higher income level, the report stated.

"Looking specifically at those who use both tablets and smartphones in the United States, we can see this group is four times more likely to pay than the average American in our sample," Reuters found.

Another factor: More papers are implementing online fees. As Reuters stated:

"Whilst 50% of our global sample (average) said they had bought a printed newspaper in the last week, only 5% said they had paid for digital news in the same time period. This is partly because the majority of online newspapers still do not charge for news – although that is changing rapidly with the erection of paywalls, combined subscriptions, and app-based purchases."

People with Apple devices were more likely to pay than those using other types.

In a bit of truism, Reuters found that consumers were more willing to pay in countries where "free online news provision is less pronounced" or where online services took off late. Thus, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Japan and France had the highest rates of paying.

Photo from Mashable via Bellle Communications

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— By on June 19, 2013, 9:47 PM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure