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  1. Paywalls
January 15, 2024

Survey suggests 37% of UK news subscribers are considering cancellation

Budget concerns cited as main reason for cancelling subscriptions.

By Dominic Ponsford

About a fifth (19%) of people in the UK currently have some sort of news or magazine subscription in print or online according to research commissioned by subscriptions management platform Zuora.

However, the research suggests that a further 10% of people in the UK had a news/magazines subscription in the last year and have cancelled it.

And of the 19% who said they have a news/magazines subscription, some 37% are considering cancelling.

Research company 3GEM conducted an online survey of 2,000 UK adults in June 2023.

The most common reason for cancelling a subscription was the need to budget (51%).

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The survey echoes the results of research by the Reuters Insitute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ) released in September last year which found that around one-third of UK news subscribers had cancelled or renegotiated their price in the course of the previous year.

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Churn amongst news media subscribers may not have been helped by price rises over the last year. Press Gazette research has found national newspaper cover prices up 13% in the last year in the UK and the price for access to paywalled websites up 20%.

According to RISJ research, UK residents are among the least likely to pay for online news out of any of the leading economies it surveys. Some 9% of Britons pay for online news versus 39% of Norwegians and 33% of Swedes.

Just over a fifth (21%) of US citizens pay for online news. A key differentiator may be the extent of free news provision in the UK from the likes of the BBC, Guardian and Mail Online.

According to the Zuoara research, home entertainment is by far the most popular subscription among Britons with 82% paying for the likes of Netflix and Disney+.

The research also sheds light on the wide range of other goods and services to which people now subscribe in significant numbers, including alcohol, plants, coffee and beauty products.

Publishers are increasingly turning to reader revenue to make up for falling advertising revenue with GB News and Mail Online among the latest to adopt partial paywalls.

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
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Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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