A little more than one in three (36%) US adults pay for local news content, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center’s Project For Excellence in Journalism. “State of the Media 2011” indicates 33% of adults pay for a local newspaper subscription, 1% pay for a local news app, and 5% pay for other local news content.
The total 36% figure is less than the combined percentages for different types of local news content due to multiple responses from single respondents.
1/4 Would Pay $5 Per Month for Online Paper
The survey also asked about the willingness of people to pay for an online subscription to their local newspaper if the paper otherwise could not survive. People were asked “If the only way to get full access to your local newspaper online on your computer, cell phone or other device was to pay a … monthly subscription fee, would you pay it or not?” While currently 5% of adults report paying for local news content online, nearly a quarter (23%) say that they would be willing to pay at least a small amount if that were the only way to access their local newspaper.
That figure dropped to 18% among respondents who were asked if they would pay $10 per month. In both questions, roughly three-quarters of adults say they would not be willing to pay for online access to their local newspaper, even if it was the only way to access the newspaper’s content.
3 in 10 Mobile News Consumers Would Pay $5 Per Month for Online Paper
Mobile news consumers are almost twice as likely as other adults to say they would pay a $5 monthly fee for access to their local newspaper online (30% vs. 17%). And among local app users, 38% are willing to pay that amount. There is less enthusiasm among mobile news consumers and local app users when the proposed fee is $10 per month.
In addition, college graduates and adults with household incomes of at least $75,000 are slightly more likely than the least educated and lowest income adults to say they would be willing to pay a monthly fee. And African-American (27%) and Hispanic (27%) adults are slightly more likely than white adults (18%) to be willing to pay a fee.
3 in 10 Adults Would Feel Major Impact of Local Paper Loss
When asked, “If your local newspaper no longer existed, would that have a major impact, minor impact, or no impact on your ability to keep up with information and news about their community?”, the responses were as follows:
- 28% of adults said the loss of the newspaper would have a major impact on their ability to keep up with local information. Most likely to answer this way were adults older than 50, non-internet users, those who get news from multiple sources, those who had lived in the community more than 20 years and those who say they enjoy keeping up with the news.
- 30% said the loss of the newspaper would have a minor impact. This response was most common among adults from relatively high-income households and those with higher levels of educational attainment, adults who use multiple sources for news and mobile local news consumers.
- 39% said the loss of the newspaper would have no impact. Most likely to respond this way were younger adults (younger than 50), those with broadband at home, those who say they do not enjoy getting news and those who usually get news from just one or two platforms.
Those who currently pay for news would miss the paper more. Close to half of those who currently pay for local news (43%) say loss of their paper would have a major impact on their ability to keep up with what is happening in their communities (not surprising as most who currently pay are paying for their local paper). Still, one in five of those who pay for local news (21%) say that losing their local newspaper would have no impact on their ability to keep up with local news and information.
1/2 of Adults Get Mobile Local News
Roughly half (47%) of US adults report that they get at least some local news and information on their cellphone or tablet computer, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center’s Project For Excellence in Journalism. “State of the Media 2011? indicates 84% of US adults own a cell phone or tablet computer, meaning 56% of mobile users obtain news online.