News & Opinion

Young people most willing to pay for online news

An Oxford University study reveals a significant shift in public attitudes towards digital news, with more than twice as many people paying for digital news content than a year ago.

  • 25-34 year olds are most willing to pay for online news
  • Newspaper tablet readers are the most likely to pay for news in the future
  • More devices means more people are reading newspapers across platforms

The second annual Reuters Institute Study of Journalism Digital News Report 2013, co-sponsored by Newsworks, also shows that more people are willing to pay for digital news in the future.

The survey of 11,000 internet users across nine countries, including the UK, is one of the biggest studies of online news habits. Analysis of the UK data by Newsworks reveals a positive picture for UK newspaper brands, which attract an exceptionally active and influential audience in the world of multi-platform news.

Paying for news

Online newspaper readers are more likely to have paid for news (16% versus 9% UK average) and those who haven’t yet paid are more willing to consider paying for news in the future (9% versus 5% UK average).

However, people who read newspapers on tablets are the most willing to pay for news in the future – 21% compared with an overall UK online average of 5%.

Across all nine countries surveyed, 25-34 year olds are the age group most willing to pay for online news.

68% of 18-24s and 72% of 25-34s read a national newspaper brand (in any format, including print) in the week before the survey.

Nearly half (49%) of 18-24 year olds read a digital newspaper - the highest reach of any age group. This age group is also the most likely to read both print and digital newspapers (27%).

'News Lovers'

The report identifies 10 million ‘News Lovers’ – users who consume more, share more, are wealthier and are more likely to pay for news. The vast majority (83%) of this group are newspaper readers.

The more devices consumers own, the more likely they are to read digital newspapers – a third of people who own one device read digital newspapers. This rises to nearly two thirds (63%) of people who own three devices. (Print readers are additional to this).

Tablet owners are the most likely to read digital newspapers - 55% of tablet owners who use them for news access an online newspaper weekly – with mobile users a close second at 52%.

Digital newspaper readers, meanwhile, are 150% more likely than average online users to share news stories on social networks. Over half (56%) of people who shared a news link on social media are digital newspaper readers.


Judy Harman, planning director at Newsworks, said: "It's really encouraging to see the strength of newspaper brands among the UK news audience. It's great to see that newspapers are destination brands for young people online and that they are considerably more willing to pay for online news, especially if they are reading on tablets."

Nic Newman, author, research associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and digital strategist, added: "We're starting to see significant shifts in public attitudes to online news, with more people starting to pay for digital news or seeming to accept that in future they will probably have to pay for a service that they currently get for free. Paywalls and apps are no longer regarded as novelties, but are now increasingly part of everyday life for many of those wanting to access news."


The exclusive newspaper presentation and charts Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2013: 'A closer look at newspaper brands in the digital world' are available to download now.

The full 108-page report, including slidepacks, charts and data tables, as well as a description of the methodology and the complete questionnaire, is also available via

Media Coverage

Notes for Editors

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 11413 adults across nine countries, including 2078 in the UK. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29 January and 6 February 2013. The nine countries: UK, US, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, urban Brazil and Japan.

The survey was carried out online. The data was weighted to targets set on age and gender, region, newspaper readership and social grade to reflect the total population.

The sample is reflective of the population who have access to the internet and respondents were screened out if they had not accessed news in the last month.

Newsworks, Google, BBC, Ofcom and France Télévisions sponsored the Reuters Institute Study of Journalism Digital News Report 2013.

Reuters Institute Study of Journalism’s academic partners include the Hans Bredow Institute in Hamburg and Roskilde University.


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