Times comes clean with paywall figures

News International has announced that its Times and Sunday Times websites have accrued 50,000 paying monthly subscribers since going behind a paywall in June.

To date, around 105,000 customers have paid to access digital content, including through the iPad and Kindle. That figure includes customers who have purchased a single-day pass, or taken out the 30-day trial for £1 and not renewed.

It’s a stark contrast to the near two-million daily visitor figure the free-to-access Times Online received before June, which was also the last time any of News International’s websites were measured by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Bosses at News International were quick to jump on the figures as a positive sign of the paywall’s future. Chief executive Rebekah Brooks said she was “pleased” with the response to digital services. “These figures very clearly show that a large number of people are willing to pay for quality journalism in digital formats,” she said.

Breaking down the numbers, MediaGuardian claimed that the figure represented a gross revenue of £5.5million a year, taking into account the various platforms and offers that have operated on the website since its launch. “Given that the advertising revenue lost could be in the £10 million to £20 million range, that suggests there is a long way to go,” suggested the Guardian article.

(Source: Press Gazette, MediaGuardian)

This article appears in issue 259 of Media Digest.




“Before we all sink into a slough of digital dystopian despair, it might be worth considering this: is this a sign of the strength, not weakness, of revelatory journalism in the digital age?”

Charlie Beckett, director of POLIS at the London School of Economics, reacts to news that the UK government forced the Guardian into destroying hard drives that contained information leaked by Edward Snowden.

(Source: POLIS)


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