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World Loves Free Content

April 7, 2010

A just released survey report by an analyst from Deloitte Touche shows that almost 90% of “the consumers find the news they get for free online is of sufficient quality that they wouldn’t pay for online news of any kind.” The survey was based on nearly 2000 consumers from each of several countries.

This follows a similar report released by Forrester in November

There appears two limitations to both surveys: (i) respondents were not questioned about the value they get or to rank the sources by importance and (ii) both surveys appear to be limited to newspapers and magazines. However it might still be useful for STM publishers to look for a message in these surveys. One impression in the industry appears to be that, while “paid content companies” and “B2B media companies” both are susceptible to the same macro-trends, the latter have generally been more able to maintain paid products in a free world. STMs are both “paid content companies” (individual subscribers) and “B2B media companies” (institutional subscribers) and they don’t want to face the danger of alienating one set of customers over the benefit of others. It would be very interesting to see how the DeepDive experiment or similar ones will pay off.

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