Knight Center
Knight Center


Smaller U.S. newspapers more likely to charge for online content, report shows

Smaller U.S. daily newspapers are moving faster to charge for online content than larger newspapers, the Reynold Journalism Institute (RJI) reports.

Results showed 46 percent of daily newspapers with a circulation of under 25,000 were charging for some aspect of online content compared to 24 percent of newspapers with a circulation larger than 25,000. The study, a random sample of all 1,390 U.S. dailies complemented by 301 interviews, was conducted April 1-18 by the Missouri School of Journalism’s Center for Advanced Social Research, the research arm for the RJI.

These results for smaller daily newspapers arrive at time when large news organizations have been wrestling with whether to charge for online content. Paywalls were a hot topic at the 12th International Symposium on Online Journalism hosted by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas in April 1-2, shortly after The New York Times introduced its plan to charge for website access.

The authors of the comprehensive analysis The Story So Far: What We Know about the Business of Digital Journalism, suggest the "best chance to make headway with pay schemes is likely with a device that people can hold in their hands. For most mobile phones and tablets, a commerce system is already in place, and the transaction is straightforward." This study, released May 10, was composed for the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia Journalism School.

The RJI report on smaller daily newspapers showed they lagged behind larger newspapers regarding creating applications for mobile devices and tablets. Twenty-one percent of newspapers below the 25,000 circulation level had a mobile app compared to 62 percent of newspapers with a circulation greater than 25,000. Only nine percent of smaller newspapers had a tablet app while 39 percent of larger newspapers had released tablet apps.

Other Related Headlines:
» Nieman Journalism Lab (The NYT rewards its paying users with subscriber-only content)


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