Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Digital Journalism (MADJ)

First Supervisor/Advisor

George Nyabuga

Second Supervisor/Advisor



Graduate School of Media and Communications


Since the advent of digital media platforms, players in the mainstream media have grappled with the challenge of increased fragmentation of platforms and audiences coupled with dwindling advertising revenues. Given the need to diversify their revenue sources in the face of shrinking advertising revenue, media houses are pushing readers towards subscription to e-papers and commercializing the content on their websites through paywalls to help generate more revenues. While there has been a shift towards subscription-based revenue models to attract new audiences and supplement advertising revenue, it is not clear whether the pay-for-content model can attract and retain audiences that are looking for content online. The purpose of the research is to assess the willingness of consumers to pay for content on a subscription basis. This would be key to understanding the motivations behind consumer spending on content that is provided online. The main objective of the study is to find out consumers’ willingness to pay for news content on an online platform. The project’s specific objectives were (a) to examine the attitudes that consumers have towards pay- for-content platforms (b) to determine the factors that influence willingness of consumers to pay for content online and (c) to map out the formats and nature of the content that consumers would be willing to pay for. The study adopted a qualitative approach to investigate the research problem. The data was collected through a survey in which a questionnaire was administered. Based on the responses received, the study showed that a majority of respondents are not willing to pay for online news content as part of their subscription. To attract those who are willing to spend some money as part of their subscription, the study pointed to the need to develop content that has value ads that a reader is willing to pay for.