Willingness to pay for news

The proportion of adult online people who regularly spend money on a daily newspaper has fallen steadily in recent years. In 2017, 42 percent of Internet users over the age of 18 say they bought or paid for a daily newspaper within the past week. This applies both to subscriptions and to one-time payments, for example at the kiosk. This is 4 percentage points less than in 2016. In addition to these decreases, however, there is no increase in the number of paid users of online news. Over the last few years, a constant 7 to 8 percent of adult online users have been watching who paid for Internet news in the past year (!).

Looking at the age groups, it is striking that printed newspapers are losing shares compared to the previous year, especially in the older 45+ age segments, while the share of online news buyers in the other age groups remains relatively stable.

Reasons to pay for online news

Those who paid for news on the Internet last year paid mainly for general coverage of current events (46%) and in-depth analysis and explanation (38%). Entertaining or entertaining content was only important for 15 percent of respondents (Figure 36).

The most important reason for the message users paying on the Internet was the possibility to access the offer on mobile (34%). The reason for having received a good offer was also mentioned by nearly one in four (23%). Content or quality-related reasons were relatively rarely decisive. Only 10 percent of those who spent money on online news last year say that access to more select information was crucial or that paid messages are better than free messages.

Reasons for non-payment of online news

If adult online users, who did not pay for news on the Internet last year, are asked to pay for what they can best imagine spending next year, the content is similar to that of those who In-depth analysis (12%), more generally reporting on current events (9%) and breaking news (9%) are the most common. However, two-thirds of respondents (65%) would not be willing to spend money on any of these options.

Funding through advertising

One way to finance journalism is to advertise. Although a large proportion of adult online people in Germany do not pay for news on the Internet, the acceptance of advertising is also limited (Figure 40). Around a third of respondents are prepared to see advertising in exchange for free news (33%), one third is not (33%) and one third is undecided (34%). Slightly more than half of internet users perceive the number of ads on news sites as a nuisance (51%).

To prevent the display of advertisements on the Internet, so-called adblockers are available. Almost one third of adult online users in Germany say they have already downloaded such software in 2017 (32%). In the previous year, there were 30 percent. It is currently being used by 28 percent of respondents (2016: 25 percent). Of the online users who currently use an adblocker, 58 percent have significantly more than half turned it off to look at certain content. For news sites, however, it was only about one-third (32%). The main reason for the at least temporary shutdown of the software that blocks advertising is that there were no alternatives to see the content of interest (61%). That the website needs the money from the ads to finance the content is just one in four (23%).