But only 16 percent of Americans say they are willing to pay for any online news. If someone’s first digital subscription is to the Times or the Post — how many are willing to pay for a second, or a third, or a fourth news site? Especially if that second or third site costs as much or more than their favorite national daily?
To frame it another way: There’s a segment of the population that can grudgingly be convinced to pay for a news site, out of some mix of consumer reward, civic duty, and peer pressure. But that second or third subscription requires a level of devotion that can be hard to sustain in a digital environment where the links come at you from every direction.
News shouldn’t be free but the access to content means if you can’t afford $250 a month for newspaper access, you’re going to rely more on social media for your news.