Report Claims Only 15,000 Signed Up For The Times Paywall

from the enough-to-stay-in-business dept

Last week, we wrote about Michael Wolff's report that the new paywall for Rupert Murdoch's The Times in London wasn't doing so well. However, we wondered if we'd ever see actual numbers. While some publications have been analyzing the traffic drop, noting that it was "only" 2/3 of pre-registration traffic, as opposed to the 10% that some predicted, an anonymous reader has passed along a report from the site BeeHiveCity that claims to have the data saying that 15,000 people signed up for the paywall and another 12,500 paid for the iPad app. As the report notes, "this figure is considered disappointing."

A further analysis of the data by the same site digs a bit deeper. It notes that the two newspapers (The Times and The Sunday Times) both lost a bunch of paper subscriptions in the last month as well. That could mean that the paywall folks are simply replacing the paper version. But, still, we're talking about pretty small numbers. As the report notes, it doesn't look like the online paywall subscribers even come close to replacing the paper circulation decline in terms of revenue -- and (most importantly), the paper subscription declines seem like an ongoing deal. The number of new subscribers to the paywalled digital edition almost certainly won't increase at the same rate. The first week is when the largest single segment was likely to subscribe. If that number only increases by a trickle (or... if it actually starts to decrease, once the cheaper "trial period" is up), the paywall may go down as a complete disaster.
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Filed Under: journalism, paywall, sunday times, times of london
Companies: news corp.

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  1. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), 20 Jul 2010 @ 7:38am

    Re: The great swami

    "I do believe I predicted 20k... I think one fella predicted 5. Mr. Penguin, you have the floor :)"

    LOL ... The penguin takes the floor ...

    Actually with out a break down of the numbers and how this is set up the numbers do not mean much. The big thing missing here is do the people currently subscribed to the dead tree version get free access and are they counted in these numbers. Are there vouchers that come with the paper?

    ˘ Readers registered during free trial period: 150,000.
    ˘ Paying subscribers: 15,000 (Sabbagh: "This figure, apparently, is considered disappointing").
    ˘ iPad customers so far: 12,500 (how many are actually paying).
    ˘ 12% of Times Online's pre-wall daily audience created an account during the first-month-free period, then a tenth of them have paid.
    ˘ 1 Pound for 1 day (one day pass)
    ˘ 1 Pound for 30 days then 2 Pounds a week.
    ˘ The Terms and conditions of use agreement seems like it is designed to cause you to fall into higher subscription price ranges.
    ˘ The "we will notify you four weeks in advance of a subscription price increase" is sneaky from a psyche perspective. It relys on peoples forgetfulness, and failure to look at their credit card statements.

    Basically, the subscription model is set up in a way that trys to get you to subscribe for no or a low fee, and then slowly increases the price. This method hasn't really ever worked historically. Unlike the WSJ, this paper wont be paid for by the company you work for, cant be written off as a business expense, doesnt make you money, and is not a targeted paper. Expect the numbers to tank seriously when the price increases.

    Where did you bet 20,000 in the contest the contest, maybe I just am not seeing it. Do you really want a 3 month subscription to the times of London though? It seems like a waste at 2 pounds sterling a week.

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