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Only 1 in 7 South Koreans have paid for online news content: report

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According to a recent report, only 14% of South Koreans paid for online news content last year. However, the proportion of people who said they paid for news content has gradually increased over the past few years, the report adds.

According to the Digital News Report 2022, published by the Reuters Institute, the proportion of survey respondents who paid for online news content in South Korea last year increased by 1 percentage point from to the previous year.

The data, based on a YouGov survey of more than 93,000 online news consumers in 46 markets around the world, also noted that the proportion of respondents who used paid online news services in South Korea South remained below the 16% average, which places it in 24th place. among the markets studied.

Markets topping the same list included Norway with 41%, followed by Sweden with 33% and Hong Kong with 22%. The United States, Finland, the Philippines, and Belgium also held high-ranking positions.

Choi Jin-ho, senior researcher at the Korea Press Foundation, who participated in the report, noted that many people in South Korea still tend to take free online news content for granted.

Choi explained that the low rate is partly due to the strong presence of platforms delivering news content online.

“Some news outlets have started introducing digital subscriptions in the past year, but are concerned about the platforms’ dominant role,” the report said.

In South Korea, major online portals Naver and Daum aggregate multiple news sources through their websites and apps, and the majority of people consume news content online through these platforms.

Respondents who said they preferred accessing news content on platforms accounted for 69%, while only 5% of respondents said they preferred consuming news content online on sites or apps directly operated by the media – the lowest among the 46 markets surveyed. .

Some major news outlets are experimenting with new business models, including subscriptions, but these have “not yet produced tangible results”, the report adds.

One encouraging aspect, according to the report, is that the proportion of people paying for online news content in South Korea is gradually increasing, narrowing the gap with the United States, a country that is widely considered to have well-established compensation models for online news content.

Report data shows that the proportion of people who paid for online news content in the United States reached 19%, while that of South Korea reached 14%, narrowing the gap to 5 points percentage.

Meanwhile, the report pointed out that only 30% of South Koreans trust news in general, down 2 percentage points from a year earlier. The most trusted media source was YTN, and consumer trust in broadcasters was higher than in newspapers.

The report adds that news consumption via social media increased by 4 percentage points year-on-year, while TV and print media figures both declined by 2 percentage points.

By Shim Woo-hyun ([email protected])