The economic recession of 2008 and the growth of digital content delivery had changed the revenue streams in the newspaper industry. Some news publishers favored charging readers for online content, while others did not. For those who had already built the pay wall or who planned to build one in the near future, there were various methods of doing so. The purpose of this research was to assess the payment models for digital content in news organizations. A survey of 1,100 daily newspaper publishers in the US--all members of the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) --was conducted in June 2010 to assess the status of policies for charging for digital news content across a variety of digital delivery platforms. The response rate of the U.S. survey was 10 percent. Additionally, interviews were conducted with ten major Chinese news organizations in August 2010 in order to obtain a cross-cultural understanding by comparing the responses between the two countries. The results revealed that the general polices in both countries were similar. Seventy percent of news organizations in the US and 80% of respondents in China provided free access to news on their websites. However, 42% of U.S. respondents and 30% of Chinese respondents indicated that they planned to change their payment model in the near future. Of those planning to change their payment model, the majority said they would start charging for or increase the charge for online, mobile, or electronic products. The most obvious differences between the two countries were in the areas of e-editions and mobile newspapers. Most of the Chinese news organizations offer their e-editions for free in PDF format, while nearly half of the U.S. news organizations charge for all subscribers. In China, the common method of charging for mobile news was through telecommunication companies. A subscription fee was included in users' monthly cell phone bills. This payment model had been used in China for years and had been successful financially, while U.S. news organizations were still putting this model to further trial.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Electronic newspapers--Access control--United States; Electronic newspapers--Prices--United States; Electronic newspapers--Access control--China; Electronic newspapers--Prices--China
Department, Program, or Center
School of Print Media (CIAS)
Zhang, Haizhen, "The Current state of paying for digital news content" (2012). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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