Study: Most tablet users won't pay for news content

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A large majority of tablet computer users still want to read news content for free, according to the results of a survey done by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and The Economist Group.

The Pew study, released Tuesday, combines the results of three polls of 1,159 tablet users taken over the summer and early fall. The study sponsors said 894 of the respondents consumed news on their tablets at least weekly.

Only about a third of the the respondents have paid either directly or indirectly for news content, Pew said.

The survey found that just 14 percent of tablet news users had paid directly for news content on their tablets, while another 23 percent had a subscription to a print newspaper or magazine that offered digital access. Together, those two groups total 37 percent, but the margin of error in the combined polls is 5.5 percent.

“A large majority of those who have not paid directly for news on their tablet remain reluctant to do so, even if that was the only way to get news from their favorite sources,” the study said.

While a large majority won’t pay to access news sites today, Pew said the percentage who have paid directly or indirectly for news content, is a “much higher number than previous research has found.”

The study found that consuming news on tablets, including the latest headlines or in-depth articles and commentary, is the second most popular activity after general Web browsing.

Just over half (53 percent) of the respondents said they get news on their tablet every day, statistically the same as those who send and receive email daily on their device (54 percent). Browsing the Web generally every day was the highest use at 67 percent.

About 30 percent of tablet news users said they spend more time getting news than they did before they had a tablet, according to Pew.

Overall, the study found that 18 months after the introduction of the iPad, 11 percent of American adults have a tablet computer of some kind.

This story, "Study: Most tablet users won't pay for news content" was originally published by Computerworld.

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