Britain says no to paying for online news

Media lawyers Wiggin’s annual look at how we use digital media in the UK shows that we hate paying for news content online, we like online magazines, we’re obsessed with social media particularly Facebook, and we’re all dying to make Steve Jobs the happiest man on Earth.

According to the survey while TV watching still remains the most popular UK digital entertainment pastime for 87% of the population, and radio listening the second with 75% of listeners tuning in, keeping in touch with friends, colleagues and family on social networks now claims third place with 66% of the nation hooked.

Of the social networks Facebook takes the lion’s share with 62% of people of all ages saying they have a profile on the site, of which a massive 75% of all teenagers using the site. After Facebook the next most popular social media site is YouTube with 34% of people, followed by Friends Reunited (35%) and Twitter (31%).

As well as a more social media savvy nation we’re also a lot canny with our money particularly when it comes to paying for content online. According to the survey people don’t want to pay for news online – can you hear that sharp intake of breath at the Murdoch household? Nine out of ten people are not willing to pay for access to news sites. For seven out of ten people, the primary reason why they won’t is that there is enough free news content out there already. Just 10% would pay to access news content, but it would have to be on an exclusive basis.

While the Murdochs may not like the report, the good folk at Apple will. The Apple iPad could be the death of the ebook, with nearly half of all ebook readers say they are likely to ditch their reader in favour of the iPad and will use it to read ebooks. However the research reveals 15% of people say they would pay to access e-versions of magazine articles, jumping to 35% of iPhone owners.

However paper magazines are still popular. Nearly half of the people who took part in the research (46%) said they would like to access articles online but 43% still want to read a paper version as they like to relax and read something which is not on a screen. Alexander Ross, Partner at Wiggin, says: “With the arrival of the iPad and other tablets, the readability of online magazines increases hugely, and that will focus the publishers’ minds on generating sufficient appetite for online subscriptions. Our research suggests there is not much at present.”

A full copy of the Digital Entertainment Research Report is available to buy at priced £199 & VAT. And we’ll give you more snippets from the research later today.

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