Times loses almost 90% of online readership
Posted in: Internet Use/New Technologies at 22/07/2010 23:30
The Times has lost almost 90% of its online readership compared to February since making registration mandatory in June, calculations by the Guardian show.
Unregistered users of thetimes.co.uk are now "bounced" to a Times+ membership page where they have to register if they want to view Times content. Data from the web metrics company Experian Hitwise shows that only 25.6% of such users sign up and proceed to a Times web page; based on custom categories (created at the Guardian) that have been used to track the performance of major UK press titles online, visits to the Times site have fallen to 4.16% of UK quality press online traffic, compared with 15% before it made registration compulsory on 15 June.
The paywall won't be built in a day
An awful lot of British journalists were hoping that the Times and Sunday Times's paywalls would be an overnight success. At this point, we can probably assume that they aren't. News International's executives have every incentive to boast - more papers going behind paywalls would help the Times, and these things take so long to do well that NI would be likely to maintain its head start. So far, they are not boasting. They are leaving the field to Michael Wolff, Hitwise and Dan Sabbagh's secret squirrels, whose figures get less encouraging the more you look at them.
But all the folk unwontedly cheering on Rupert Murdoch should not lose heart yet. It would be very unwise to declare the experiment an overnight failure.
The Wall Street Journal acquired its million online subscribers by following a consistent strategy for a decade.