Perception vs. reality: newspaper paywalls and online news

June 4, 2019

As communicators, you’re probably interested in trends pertaining to how news is consumed. Here is an interesting stat we thought you might want to know.

A new study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism suggests our perception of news paywalls likely differs from reality after a closer look.

The study—which examined more than 200 news outlets across seven countries—found that 69% of leading newspapers in the United States and European Union are operating an online paywall of some form, a trend that has strengthened since 2017.

Despite the uptick in the presence of paywalls, however, the study found that most online news sites do not have hard paywalls, which grant access only to fee payers. In fact, the majority (53%) of all outlets studied are still available at no cost, including nearly all of broadcast (100%) and digital-born media (94%) outlets.

Read the complete study here. If you’re interested in learning more, reach out to the University Public Relations team at