In a move that bucks a recent study finding that consumers are reluctant to pay for online content, New York Newsday began charging non-subscribers for access to certain parts of its Web site today.
Under the plan, Newsday print subscribers and customers of the newspaper’s parent Cablevision will have complete access to the Web site. Others will have to pay $5 per week for an online subscription.
Non-subscribers will get to see only the site’s homepage, as well as classifieds, school closings, obituaries, weather and entertainment listings.
However, the move won’t affect most of what Newsday considers its core readership. Cablevision said it already reaches about 75% of Long Island households with either cable and/or Newsday.
The move comes at the same time as a study finding that most consumers are reluctant to pay for online content.
According to a new study by Ipsos Mendelsohn, 55.5% of survey respondents indicated they would be very or extremely unlikely to pay for online newspaper or magazine content. And just 16.5% said they are extremely, very or somewhat likely.
The study also found little crossover between publications’ online and print content. Just over 40% of respondents said they read print publications exclusively and just over 3% percent said they read the print and online version of the same publication.
Newsday’s move also comes as the newspaper industry faces arguably the most gut-wrenching changes in its history.
In the six months prior to Sept. 30, newspaper sales fell by 10.6% on weekdays and 7.5% on Sundays from the same period a year earlier for the several hundred papers reporting to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
The Internet, where content is for the most part free, has been siphoning off advertisers and readers. However, for most publishers, revenue from online advertising isn’t growing fast enough to make up for the losses in print.
The good news is that nearly 38% of the respondents to the Ipsos study said that if a publication ceased to exist in print but was available online, they would seek out its Web site.