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Most millennials will not pay for news on any platforms: study

The millennial demographic is still interested in reading news, but it must be free and mobile, according to a recent study by Retale, a location-based mobile platform for retailers.

The study shows that only 19 percent of the young demographic has paid for any form of news in last month. Thirty-seven percent of millennials prefer using mobile browsers to consume news content, while 25 percent prefer using an application. 

?According to our data, millennials don?t want to pay for most type of news access, whether print or online,? said Pat Dermody, president of Retale, Chicago. ?Fifty-five percent say they won?t pay for print, while an even greater number, 58 percent, say they won?t pay for digital. 

?Still, most millennials today get their news online because the majority of it is free and they increasingly turn to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to find that content,? she said.

The Retale study found that 27 percent of millennials would rather have a Netflix-like, buffet-style payment plan for digital-only news.

Snackable content
Paid subscriptions for news content for the younger demographics are tough going. 

With so many media publications such as theSkimm and Buzzfeed offering free, engaging content in a way that relates to millennials, traditional news publications must change the way they operate. 

Newspapers have been slow to change and have only recently begun to fully manage the digital age. This is necessary when 29 percent of millennials are unable to recall the last time they read any form of print news. 

Snackable content is a growing trend in news and media, too. This is something news sources must be very cognizant of with attention spans decreasing more each year. 

Cost and convenience 
The most important factor in choosing a news source for all ages is cost, cited by 85 percent of the Retale study's respondents, and convenience is second, mentioned by 59 percent. 

One of the world's preeminent business publications, The Economist, uses a different kind of business plan, bucking an industry trend.

The Economist has always stood out from the crowd and it yields no ground on subscription fees, both to new subscribers and old. It claims not to be advertising dependent, even while that revenue stream is important to the organization (see more).

Something else these publications should keep in mind is social media. 

The New York Times is the latest media publisher to foray into storytelling reporting and photojournalism on social media by unveiling its primary account on Instagram, suggesting that image-based stories may resonate most positively with mobile device user (see more). 

?Consumers are becoming more of a digital-first audience,? Ms. Dermody said. ?And as users are heavily shifting to mobile devices to consume all types of content, from music to news, publications must continue to seek ways to adapt to this evolution and support the reading habits of their audience. 

?In the digital age, the news media industry has been scrambling to attract eyeballs, so making the process that much easier for readers through a deeper integration with Facebook could definitely provide benefits to publishers,? she said. ?The scale is undeniable, certainly, but Facebook and other platforms will have to help publishers translate that scale into advertising revenue to make it truly worthwhile.?

Final Take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York