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Canadians prefer news online, but only for free

By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson Daily

For those about to surf, we salute you.

Cyber-surfing that is, as a new study is showing more Canadians are finding the Internet is their best bet when looking for a source of news.

However, for those looking to cash in on the online dash, they had better offer solid, original content and hope to market it to advertisers — a major point the study made is people are not willing to pay up if websites started charging them to read their stories online.

The University of British Columbia survey of nearly 1,700 Canadians revealed 81 per cent say they won't pay to read news on the Internet.

In fact, people are so against having to pay for something they have received for free for so long, 90 per cent said they would find free alternatives if their preferred news websites started charging for content.

The study was conducted by researchers with UBC's Graduate School of Journalism, with lead author Donna Logan, president of the Canadian Media Research Consortium, and online research company Vision Critical.

The online survey was conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion from Aug. 26-30 last year and included 1,682 adults.


Other points:

• About 38 per cent of respondents said they preferred news from TV, with 30 per cent on the Internet — with online news considered a better news source than TV and newspapers.

• 52 per cent said the Internet was the best source of providing news and information that was most interesting.

• Respondents aged 18 to 34 were especially hooked on online content, with 77 per cent saying the most interesting news came from the web and only seven per cent said their best reads were in print newspapers.

• The study also suggested Canadians valued Internet access over their TV, cell phone and newspaper subscriptions.

Source: The Canadian Press