Back in November, we asked readers if they would rather pay for content and never see ads or have all content be free and ad-supported. The poll generated 4,719 votes, with the majority of respondents (80.4%) saying they prefer that all content be free and ad-supported. While it was not surprising to see that most readers preferred that all content be free, nearly 1 in 5 respondents indicated they wouldn't mind paying for content if it meant that they never had to see ads.

The emergence of subscriptions

Since the earliest days of the Internet, we've enjoyed content that is, for the most part, free. As the web quickly grew, advertising became the de facto strategy for websites to monetize their audience. However, with the rapid adoption of ad blockers, constant fluctuations in CPM rates, and the challenges of monetizing audiences on third-party platforms, publishers are increasingly turning to subscriptions as a way to create a more direct and predictable source of revenue.

Accompanying publishers' increasing investment in subscriptions, readers are showing a greater willingness to pay for news. According to research from the Reuters Institute's annual Digital News Report surveying tens of thousands of readers globally, more consumers today are paying for online news content than ever before. In the United States, the 2016 "Trump Bump" catapulted the number of people paying for news from 9% in 2016 to 16% in 2017. This increase has been maintained over the past year, suggesting the possibility of a longer term shift in readers’ propensity to pay for online news content.

We now turn to you to hear what you think. Do you currently pay for online news content? This could be a subscription, a donation, or one-time payment to read an article on a publisher’s site. Let us know what online publication(s) you currently pay for or have in the past year in a comment below.

If you answered “yes” to the question above, let us know why you pay for online news content. Not finding your reason listed? Share it as a comment below.

If you don’t currently pay for online news content, we’d love to hear from you too! Have you ever considered paying for a subscription or donating to an online publication that you read? Why or why not?

We look forward to hearing from you and invite you now to join the discussion below. We read every comment here and appreciate any feedback you have to share. Stay tuned for a follow-up recap where we will highlight some of the best comments from the discussion.