A few weeks ago we reported on a UK national newspaper, The Times, and its move to a pay-for online model.
Data from two sources have come to light which examines this. Firstly, Experian’s Hitwise which reported on initial traffic as the paywall went up in June. And now a piece in Beehive City, which is written by the Times’ former media editor Dan Sabbagh.
This is encouraging. According to Hitwise the site has lost 66 per cent of its readers following the paywall. Putting this in context, The Times’ originally predicted a 90 per cent loss. Leading to the below tweet from Times writer Caitlin Moran.
*air punch* The Times only lost 66% of its online readership when the paywall went up! I’m genuinely amazed! http://bit.ly/9P6qE4
So positive news? Not exactly. Especially as Hitwise will record people going to the front page only, which is free to view.
Beehive has stated 150,000 people registered when the site was free. However, just one in 10 of these have converted to a paid for account. And the site is still offering a 30 day trial for £1 (~$1.50).
The Times (and many others) had stated that there would be a better future in serving a small select audience of subscribing customers. But will 15,000 be enough?
On the plus side, Beehive City states that the number of people paying for The Times’s separate and more expensive (£9.99) iPad application is 12,500. Given how new this technology is and, relatively speaking, the low numbers of the device.
This is particularly encouraging given recent research from Yahoo, which reported that “94%
Reports suggest there are severe technical problems with the Times’ iPad app, causing it to crash, however, so we’ll have to wait and see if people renew after a month.