A new report suggests that consumers are willing to pay little for news online – but that digital advertising is booming.
The Internet Advertising Bureau report suggests total UK digital advertising grew 14 per cent year on year in 2014 to £7.2bn.
Most of this was spent on search (£3.8bn) so went mainly to Google.
But display advertising was the fastest growing sector, up 26.4 per cent year on year to £2.3bn, the report said.
Asked how much they would be willing to pay for news online, if they didn’t already get it for free, consumers said in a survey that they would pay 92p a month, the report states.
Chief strategy officer of the Internet Advertising Bureau Tim Elkington said: “It’s a win-win for consumers, because digital advertising pays for the wide range of free online services they increasingly rely on in their daily lives, but don’t necessarily want to pay much for.”
The report found that there are now said to be an average of 7.4 internet-enabled device per UK household, including 1.7 smartphones, 1.3 laptops and 1.2 tablets per household.
This may help explain the huge growth in news website traffic seen in recent years. Mail Online, for instance, now attracts 65m unique browsers per month in the UK, according to ABC (each browser is a different device accessing the site).
Quoting a YouGov survey of 2,090 adults conducts last month, the report suggests that the average Briton is prepared to spend 92p a month accessing news websites.
The survey asked people what the maximum amount was that they were willing spend per month on accessing various services.
Averaged out, people said the most they would pay for various services (currently available for free) were:
- £1.53 for email
- £1.33 for search
- £1.10 for video vondent
- 92p for new
- 88p for social med
- 55p for online games
- 52p for price comparison sites.
Mobile advertising was said to have grown 63 per cent in 2014 to £1.62bn.
Display advertising grew by 26.4 per cent to £2.27 billion in 2014, the survey claims.
Elkington said: “Display advertising's record share shows marketers are increasingly seeing online as a viable ‘brand awareness’ ad medium – as with traditional media – not just one for generating an immediate ‘direct response’.
“The internet has been characterised as the latter since the start due to its unrivalled measurability but this shows online advertising has come of age.”
The Times, Sunday Times, Sun and Telegraph are the only mainstream UK news websites charging for online content.
The Times and Sunday Times claim to have 172,000 subscribers paying between £16 and £24 a month.
The Telegraph charges £8 a month for those who wish to access more than 20 articles. But its subscriber numbers remain secret.
In November, The Sun claimed to have 225,000 digital subscribers at a rate of £2 per week.