With its large touch screen and comparable size to a folded up newspaper, some in the news business had hopes that the tablet computer would usher in a new era of customers willing to pay for access to news content. But a new study shows that — at least so far — it just isn’t so.
According to a Pew Research Center survey, while tablet users are spending more time on news sites, only 14% of people who use their tablets to read the news are currently paying to access news content on the device. And of the people who aren’t currently forking over the cash, only 21% say they would be willing to pay $5 per month for access.
That’s bad news for the New York Times, which is charging $5 a week for access to its tablet app plus its web site (not counting a current promotion for 99 cents for the first four weeks.) News Corp. unveiled the first news publication exclusively for the iPad back in Feb. 2011. The Daily goes for 99 cents a week.
“When it was launched, many observers believed that the tablet might help change the experience of news consumers and the economic ground rules of digital news consumption,” writes the authors of the Pew Research Center report. “That belief was based on the sense that people would consume information on tablets largely through special applications or apps that provide content from a favorite news organization like the New York Times or one’s local newspaper.”