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90% of online content to be held behind paywalls in three years media company survey suggests


By Stephen Lepitak, -

April 12, 2013 | 3 min read

The majority of online content expected to be behind paywalls in the next three years, according to a study conducted by global pricing consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partners.

News International moved The Times behind a paywall in 2010

The study, which claims to have included 2,700 high-end decision makers from companies internationally, found that 90 per cent of online content would likely be held behind a paywall in the coming years, while 27 per cent of media companies said that they expects significant shift in profit margin increase over the same three year period.

This outlook is likely to see the end of the ‘free for all’ online culture with two thirds of media companies expecting fees to be introduced for most of the content available online.

Mark Billige, UK managing partner, at Simon-Kucher & Partners: “Media companies clearly see optimised content offers (print and online) as key success factors for the future, but these offers needs to be priced correctly.

Media sector senior management has understood the importance of switching to paid content for websites and apps as digitisation grows. But thus far, few companies have made the leap of faith in establishing dedicated pricing functions, which have powerful impact on value perception and prices charged.”

It was also discovered that 38 per cent of media companies had a dedicated pricing function, the lowest across all of the industries that participated in the survey.

Hamburg-based magazine Der Spiegel this week sacked two of its editors over a dispute over the introduction of a paywall to its website.

In recent weeks both The Telegraph Media Group and The Sun have announced their strategy to introduce paywalls to their websites also.

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