Few Canadians Willing to Pay as News Content Shifts Online

Almost half say they do not visit any news sources that charge for online access.

Vancouver, BC [August 2, 2018] – Canadians have not embraced the concept of paying for news and information online, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, only 9% of Canadians say they are currently paying subscribers of at least one online news source that they find interesting—a proportion that rises to 14% among those aged 18-to-34.

Three-in-ten Canadians (31%) say they stop going to an online news source if there’s a limit on free articles and/or a paywall—including 39% of those aged 35-to-54.

“Content is increasingly moving online, but almost half of Canadians (47%) are not paying for any of it right now,” says Mario Canseco, President at Research Co. “Those over the age of 55 are more likely to say they do not visit any news sources that charge for online access (56%) than those aged 18-to-34 (41%) and those aged 35-to-54 (41%).”

More than half of Ontarians (52%) say they do not visit any news sources that charge for online access. The proportion of non-subscribers drops to 49% in British Columbia, 47% in Alberta, 46% in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 44% in Atlantic Canada and 36% in Quebec.

Only 13% of Canadians say they get news and information from a hard copy of a local newspaper on a daily basis, and fewer access a hard copy of a national paper (9%) or a hard copy of a magazine (5%).

When it comes to radio and television, 41% of Canadians say they get their news and information from local television newscasts and news channels. A slightly smaller proportion (37%) watch national television newscasts and news channels every day. One-in-five (26%) listen to local radio newscasts daily, and 11% listen to national radio newscasts every day.

Almost a third of Canadians (32%) say they get news and information from Facebook on a daily basis. This is a substantially higher proportion than other sources, including websites from television news providers (20%), Twitter (18%), websites from national and local newspapers (14% each), websites from independent online news providers (8%), websites from radio stations (7%), websites of magazines (6%) and blogs (also 6%).

More than half of Canadians (56%) support the federal government’s proposal to invest $50 million over five years to support independent, non-governmental organizations that are expected to focus on delivering local journalism in communities.

Majorities of Canadians who voted for the New Democratic Party (NDP) (65%), the Liberal Party (61%) and the Conservative Party (52%) in the 2015 federal election endorse the proposal.

Results are based on an online study conducted from May 7 to May 11, 2018, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca

Credit: Liis Saar