Net vs News

Google economist Hal Varian on the economists of news:

Newspaper circulation has been in decline since 1990, “well before the Internet,” Varian noted, while newspaper circulation crossed against the nation’s population has been declining since 1960; and circulation per household has been dropping since — wait for it — 1945. You can’t blame the Web for that.

Still: “Americans still spend much more time with print newspapers than they do with news online.”

Google news access goes up during the day, down in the evening, and way, way down over the weekend… “What that says to me  is that reading the news online is a worktime activity. Most people aren’t paid to sit at a computer and read newspapers. They’re snatching things throughout the day,” Varian said.

People who click on a news article or a video at work as a distraction from other tasks aren’t going to want to pay for it. People are willing to pay for newspapers not because they’re used to paying, according to Varian, but because “It’s a much nicer experience to sit there with a newspaper and a cup of coffee and have that be your leisure time activity.”

via San Francisco News Google Economist Explains Why You Won’t Pay For Online News.

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