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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  1. identicon
    vastrightwing, 20 Jul 2010 @ 10:14am

    LOL

    Just to make my point, I visited the Time.co.uk, clicked on an article and when the great paywall popped up, I left.

    OK, here's a plan that will work Robert. Charge people $1-3/mo for the print edition with a FREE online subscription included in the price. Then charge $9/mo. for an online only subscription. (Yes I know what you're thinking).

    Here's the rub, print advertising will earn you more than online ads will. People will quickly figure that buying the print version is much cheaper than paying for the online version only. The tree huggers will still buy the online only version, so it's a win win.

    You get to keep the print advertising money and the online ad money. People will pay for real paper (after all, we all know that no one pays for news itself). You also will make a little money from the people who insist on paying for online only access. To encourage people to subscribe to your print edition, add something cool in the print edition you can't do online. I'm not generous enough to tell you what that might be though.

    Personally, I won't buy a real news paper or pay for online access since there are plenty of ways to get news for free (it's not really free, I do pay for an internet pipe after all). But this should work out better than what you have now.

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