Jump to content


Online media matters

Living Can Kill You

Reading and paying for news

Within days of the The New York Times pay-fence being unveiled, a number of reports about the well-being of the newspaper industry in Canada have been released. The sources, are, as usual, biased, but do present some interesting details.

One of these reports is from the newspaper industry’s own research arm, NADBank. The results suggests that in regions where printed papers are available, 78 percent of the adults read a newspaper on paper, or online, in an average week. That puts online-only readership of newspapers at about 23 percent of the adult audience, with about five percent reading exclusively online.

Of note, nearly a third of those printed newspapers read are free dailies, like Metro.

In that context, the second report may seem less surprising. The Canadian Media Research Consortium found in its survey of online news readers (which is about 85 percent of the adult population), only 19 percent would consider paying for news. If given no other news choice (an idealized option, yes, but also suggestive of the worth of news), 30 percent would pay.

Of those willing to pay, most preferred a subscription model, with The New York Timesmetered approach being a close second.

Granted, I do work at The Globe and Mail, and like all newspapers, there’s a strong interest in  having a more financially sustainable product online, but, like all posts here, this is my own opinion and shouldn’t be taken to suggest anything more than that. By the way, here’s the The Globe’s take on the NADBank report.