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
    Mike Masnick (profile), 19 Jul 2010 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Weird...

    That GigaOM post refers to TechDirt as though it defended paywalls as a way to reduce churn and then comes up with a horribly misguided attempt at rationalizing paywalls as a way to keep paper subscriptions.


    He's not saying that we "defended" paywalls. Just that we explained the thinking behind Newsday's. And it's true. Both this paywall and the Newsday paywall were about reducing churn to the paper subscribers. Basically, it gives them another "benefit" that they supposedly can't get without the subscription.

    It's basically trying to milk a cash cow for a little longer, rather than planning for the future -- which is the point Mathew is making in that post.

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