The Times loses two-thirds of readers
The Times newspaper's paywall has been scrutinised like no other website lately. Most are willing it to fail, mainly because they think Rupert Murdoch is a dead-eyed bastard of a human who should be flogged.
Those people will no doubt thrill at the fact that his paper has lost two‑thirds of their audience following the advent of a paywall. Data from Experian Hitwise showed that in the week following the introduction of the paywall, visits to the paper fell to 33% of its pre-registration numbers.
Of course, this is a sharp drop-off in readers but not nearly as steep as many had predicted (or hoped).
However, what The Times has lost in numbers, it has gained in coins. Obviously, it is still early days (the paywall is only weeks old), but really, you can't knock the fact that the site has lost a load of people who didn't generate money for the paper for a small pocket of people that do.
The real test for the Times will be when Murdoch lifts the introductory rates (£1 for the first 30 days) which will see users asked to pay £1 per day or £2 for a week. There is already a paywall around the Wall Street Journal online, but it is obvious that readers are more keen to pay for that specialist content which isn't really offered elsewhere.
The Guardian reports that the biggest drop in readers came in the five weeks ahead of the paywall going up, when visitors were asked to register their details which saw The Times losing 58% of their online readers.
For the time being though, the news for The Times isn't as bleak as imagined, which will no doubt encourage other newspapers to toy with the idea of a paywall. Just don't tell them all that blogs will sign up to the sites and reproduce all the content on free blogs such as this one.