Sure, it’s an unscientific poll of a skewed readership, but I always value a chance to see what non-media-types think about the news. Slashdot‘s current sidebar poll questions is: I would pay ___ monthly for a good online newspaper/magazine. As of this writing (and the above screenshot, 30,661 responses had been given, some 39% of which say they would not pay anything for a good online newspaper or magazine (and there’s another 17% at the bottom of the poll who, tongue-in-cheek or not, can’t conceive of paying for news).
For those of you who don’t know about slashdot, the Wikipedia page is informative; it was one of the first high traffic blogs (before the digg effect, or boingboing or reddit or metafilter linkage causing site outages, a website broken by high traffic volume was said to have been “slashdotted”), the site was one of the first to adopt a working paid subscriber model for visitors, monthly traffic is somewhere around 5 million, and it’s considered a pioneer of user-generated content.
Like I said, the poll surveys a skewed audience: 49% have annual household incomes above $75,000, 25% of the audience is directly employed in the computer or internet industry, 54% of the audience is between 18 and 34. I’d imagine this demographic is a bit of a bellwether when it comes to internet trends, though. This, alongside recent news that iPad magazine sales have all plummeted since they made a big splash last summer, suggests we’ve got a pretty long hill to climb.