REPORT: Use of paywalls in Europe

Picture: Don Dinero by Andrés Nieto Porras, license CC BY-SA 2.0

More and more news outlets are using paywalls to compensate for declining legacy revenues and insufficient digital advertising incomes. The report studies 171 news organizations in six European countries: Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the UK. The report was written by Alessio Cornia, Annika Sehl, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, and Felix Simon of the Oxford Internet Institute, at the University of Oxford.

66% of the newspapers operate a pay model (freemium, metered paywall or hard paywall). Freemium models, which offer some content for free, are most widely used. Metered paywalls, allowing free access to a limited number of articles each month are next in popularity.

All broadcasters offer free access to their digital news, both in the private and public sector. 97% of digital-born news media have free access to their news.

Pay models are used widely especially in Finland, France, and Poland, where from 87% to 95% of papers use paywalls. In Italy, the UK, and Germany, many of the most important news outlets continue to offer free access to their digital content.

Most newspapers and news magazines are moving away from free digital news supplemented with display advertising, and towards a combination of revenue streams from paywalls, native advertising, events and so on. “A growing number of news organisations across Europe have challenged the assumption that people will not pay for digital news and are developing pay models”, the authors write.

The full report “Pay Models in European News” is available at the RISJ website.

Picture: Don Dinero by Andrés Nieto Porras, license CC BY-SA 2.0

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