The YouGov SixthSense report, which is based on an online survey of 2,160 UK adults, suggests that 60 per cent of UK adults are willing to pay for a "good newspaper".
Of those surveyed, 44 per cent said they prefer to pay for a newspaper because "the free ones haven't got as much real content"; while 49 per cent said the cost of a newspaper reflects its quality.
"Despite the myriad free newspaper content now available online and the proliferation of free morning and evening papers across the UK, the majority of UK adults are generally more confident in what they read in paid for newspapers (…) [But] Although UK adults display a willingness to pay for what they perceive to be quality journalism, 38 per cent of respondents believe that newspapers are currently too expensive," says the report.
But respondents' willingness to pay for news in print, was not reflected when questioned about paywalls and paying for online news. The majority of those surveyed (83 per cent) said they would refuse to pay for online news; just 2 per cent said they would pay for online news "in the current format".
A further 4 per cent said they would pay for news and content online, if the material wasn't available anywhere else.
"When you are used to receiving free reporting for nigh on ten years, you are not going to one day start compliantly paying for the same content," says James McCoy, research director of YouGov SixthSense, in the report.
The survey comes ahead of the highly-anticipated Times and Sunday Times paywalls, which are expected to go live later this week. A recent survey by paidContent:UK and Harris Interactive suggests that 76 per cent of Times Online, the Times' old, free-to-view, website, were "not at all likely to pay" for the new paywalled site.
At Journalism.co.uk's news:rewired event on Friday, the Times' assistant editor for online Tom Whitwell joked about the spate of surveys on readers' attitudes to paywalls, adding that the publisher was fully aware it would lose readers with the move.