Should We Be Sceptical?

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 07:  In this photo il...

News International is claiming 105,000 paying customers for The Times and Sunday Times

This is five months after the introduction of their paywall, touted at the time as being the way things would be for all online publications moving forward.

According to a UK journalism site, “the sites charge £1 for a day’s access and £2 for a week’s subscription, though an introductory offer allows 30 days of access to both sites for £1. Access to the sites is also bundled with a seven-day print subscription to either title.”

However there is much debate as to what the figures really mean and how successful the paywall model actually is?

Average traffic for May has actually halved compared to the previous year according to Hitwise and the BBC goes further claims there has been an 87% drop off in site visitation.

They also question how many of that 105,000 paying cystomers are currently in the introductory £1 for thirty day trial period?

Colin Greenslade, the Guardian’s media commentator says the figures simply don’t stack up as a new business model.

As he puts it:

“Most importantly, there is no clear breakdown of the 105,000 total figure to show how many people have subscribed monthly, weekly or daily. ”
 
If you compare the reach of The Times with that of a more traditional online model, the Guardian, the decline is very noticeable. 

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About thedigitalconsultant

Roger Smith is an international, digital consultant and former British Council Director of Online Operations within the East Asia region. http://thedigitalconsultant.blogspot.com
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