Any publishers thinking of erecting an editorial paywall to get readers to cough up to access content might want to think again; the UK has the lowest number of subscribers to online editorial content in the world, according to a new global study.
The research, commissioned by market research company AudienceProject, surveyed over 14,000 respondents and found the UK market standing at a measly 8% of consumers, way behind Americanon 14%, while the Norwegians seem to be smashing the subscription model on 38%.
According to the research, men are more likely to pay for subscriptions than women (10% versus 6%) and the most popular online editorial content to pay for is news (66%), while almost half of those who pay also subscribe to e-papers and e-zines (48%), and features and long-reads (42%).
The report also looks at how Brits consume news more generally and found that most (40%) read news on online news sites, while one quarter (24%) watch it on TV, 14% use social media and 14% listen to it on the radio. Just 5% of UK consumers say printed newspapers are their main source of news.
But online news comes with its own issues, with over a third (37%) of Brits saying they have less or much less trust in online news over the past year compared to only 5% who have more or much more trust.
The report points out that this is no doubt why traditional media channels are the preferred choice for online news, with BBC in the top spot, followed by the Guardian and Sky News. Social media sites Twitter and Facebook also made it into the top ten, in ninth and tenth place respectively.
And, there seems to be no let up in the popularity of social media and chat sites, which are where UK consumers spend the most time online (46%), although news websites are a close second (45%), followed by email (39%).
Asked which website consumers could not possibly live without, Google ranked highest at 30%, followed by the BBC (28%) and Amazon (23%). In 2017, Facebook was level pegging with Google at 30% but in two years has dropped to 19%.
AudienceProject chief product officer Rune Werliin said: “We see a general trend towards a reality where more and more people are consuming their news online. In the UK, it is still the traditional media companies who are behind the most preferred online news sites.
“Coupled with a general move towards first-party data, publishers can take advantage of this position by leveraging their audience data to make unique propositions for advertisers and agencies.”
How brands can make the subscriptions model work
The Brand Challenge: The subscription shaving sector
Why first-party data is the gift that keeps on giving
Why memberships are key to winning consumer trust