Just Because People Say They'll Pay For Something, It Doesn't Mean They Will

from the at-all dept

I've been ignoring this one, but people keep submitting it. BCG came out with a report over the weekend on a survey it did, claiming that about half of all people would pay for online news. It was amusing to see people react to this, as some reported it as "most won't pay for news" and others reported it as "oh my goodness, a lot of people will pay for news." Of course, the reality is that this is just a survey of what people say they'd pay for -- and history has shown that surveys are notoriously poor indicators in terms of getting people to accurately reflect what they will and will not buy. Besides, just a day later, a totally different survey claimed that 80% of people wouldn't pay for news online. The answer is that no one knows how many people would pay for content online, but I'd bet that the number is lower than what both of these surveys predict, and we'll see that soon enough.


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  1.  
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    Robert Ring (profile), Nov 17th, 2009 @ 9:10pm

    I have a feeling this would be one of those one-percent situations. Who knows if any of these newspapers will ever put up complete paywalls, though.

     

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    Pwdrskir (profile), Nov 17th, 2009 @ 9:43pm

    My favorite saying to this type of survey, news or statement is “As the rumor goes…”

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 9:52pm

    Hasn't this already been tried? Didn't it fail? A bunch of times?

    Oh but that was individual companies and not all of them, together, in solidarity. But this time it will be different? Right? Because all these companies are going to band together?

    Because that's what companies competing for consumers do, right? They collude? Together?

    They don't actually compete. Can't have that? It might result in a lower profit margin! Consumer choice!

    No! We can't have that! Remember the 20th century? Why can't we go back to how it was?

    Seriously, good luck in the future.

     

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  4.  
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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Nov 17th, 2009 @ 10:20pm

    Of course.

    How many people said that they were going to buy t-shirts and then didn't?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 10:34pm

    I'm tired of getting my news for free. Sign me up to pay!

     

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    Daniel, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 10:49pm

    News site vs News site might equal Apple vs. IBM

    I've been thinking of the news stories about paying to read news. And in a way, I'm thinking that news stories would need a niche sort of like how Apple has in desktops. Apple doesn't want a huge cut in the desktop and laptop market, which enables them to keep their smaller customer base much more happy.

    One issue that seems to crop up is that most of the news sites want as many customers as they can get. Wall Street Journal has a financial customer base, and they keep customers happy while charging them. News sites should establish a smaller niche in the news market and not worry about getting hundreds of millions of customers.

    It might be better to understand that their high priced executives will just need to take a huge cut in pay and get fewer customers that will pay, rather than have as many as possible and attempt to please them all.

    Just a thought.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 17th, 2009 @ 11:34pm

    I remember way back in 1999 when I would spend $0.72 on one whole newspaper.

    And today? Thanks to someone's free wifi generosity I can read thousands of newspapers from all around the world.

    For free. Every single day.

    I'm fascinated by other cultures view of my own. So I search for what other countries are saying about mine.

    I read the local paper. It comes free every week. Stuffed with local advertisements. I keep trying to tell the local paper that giving away your product for free isn't a sustainable business model but they always end up laughing at me.

    Poor suckers. Their only hope is for Rupert Murdoch to save them.

     

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  8.  
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    Chucklebutte (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 12:55am

    o.O

    What is this charge you speak of? I have 4 local channels that have free news. 1 mexican channel that has news. Out of the 4 local channels one has news at 4pm 4:30pm 5pm 6pm 6:30pm 11pm. One has a 10pm news.

    I think im set on free news. So why do I have to pay for it again? I need news relevant to my local area. I dont live in New York so no need for the times, I dont live in Frisco so no chronicle either nor do I live on wall street so see you again journal! If all else fails there is good ol' Google.

    Dont worry everyone give it 15-20 years all these old farts will be dead and hopefully things will be better.

     

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  9.  
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    giafly, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 1:27am

    Americans read News?

    I know most Brits don't. If you have a minute to spare, try to find the news in the most popular UK "newspaper". BTW the following doesn't count: "DAD OF JACKSON SEX CLAIM BOY SHOOTS HIMSELF".
    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/

     

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    Michael Long, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 2:31am

    surveys are notoriously poor indicators

    "Of course, the reality is that this is just a survey of what people say they'd pay for -- and history has shown that surveys are notoriously poor indicators in terms of getting people to accurately reflect what they will and will not buy."

    Just like the surveys of people who say they'd finance the production of future movies or books or music by buying shares? (Various assurance contracts and micropatronage schemes.)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:26am

    Then if the law doesn't punish people for file sharing, why should a musician ever expect people to support them?

    I know, you love the musicians work so much that you will just send in your money, you are one of those that want to do that, right?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 7:00am

    Survey Says

    1) 95% say they would read online news if paid to do so.
    2) 89% say that 74% of all surveys are bogus
    3) 63% say they do not believe survey results

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 7:11am

    Re: surveys are notoriously poor indicators

    Just like the surveys of people who say they'd finance the production of future movies or books or music by buying shares? (Various assurance contracts and micropatronage schemes.)

    Yes, indeed. But has anyone used surveys to make that point? I didn't think so...

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 7:13am

    Re:

    Then if the law doesn't punish people for file sharing, why should a musician ever expect people to support them?

    A musician should not just expect people to support them, and I don't know anyone here who's said otherwise.

    I know, you love the musicians work so much that you will just send in your money, you are one of those that want to do that, right?

    Again, I don't know anyone who's said this. What we have said is that musicians should put in place smart business models.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 7:32am

    A musician shouldn't expect people to just support them, but if they listen to their music, they should expect to be paid.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 7:51am

    Re:

    "Then if the law doesn't punish people for file sharing, why should a musician ever expect people to support them?"

    If a musician requires a law to stay in business, then they should just quit now, because they've already lost. No law in the world is going to stop file sharing.

    "I know, you love the musicians work so much that you will just send in your money, you are one of those that want to do that, right?"

    I do. Most of my friends do. Your tone indicates you don't believe this but it's true -- most people are honest and don't mind paying a fair price for goods and services.

    What I don't do is purchase music produced by RIAA-member labels. What I do instead is purchase music directly from the artists, usually from their web sites and always after having heard a few tracks downloaded (legally, usually directly from them) first.

     

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    MattP, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 7:59am

    Re: News site vs News site might equal Apple vs. IBM

    They could keep their niche market that I'll never know about the same as Apple can keep theirs.

    They may both have the best thing going but until they open it up to a medium I think is acceptable I won't give them a chance.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 12:10pm

    Re:

    You can expect a lot of things. That doesn't mean that the rest of society will agree with you.

     

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    Fred McTaker (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:39am

    Re: o.O

    "Dont worry everyone give it 15-20 years all these old farts will be dead and hopefully things will be better."

    If only they were so uniform. I know some old farts who are tired of these luddite Oligarch bastards ruining everything. My old farts will probably die faster, due to inferior access to health care. In their prime era they were fooled by the same Oligarchs, to think of things like cigarettes and leaded gasoline as perfectly healthy. Gasoline cleans your clothes, dontchaknow! I've got a headache from the fumes, but it's nothing a good smoke wont cure.

     

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    Fred McTaker (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:44am

    Re:

    "if they listen to their music, they should expect to be paid."

    How do I know if a musician is worth paying if I don't hear their music first? Do art collectors routinely collect paintings without seeing them first? Am I the only one who browses books in the book store, or gets them from the library, *before* buying?

    Does the real world just sound like echoes to you in there?

     

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