The Times newspaper's website has lost two‑thirds of its audience following the implementation of a paywall, according to a story in the Observer yesterday.
The Observer says the fall is not as as steep as many had forecast. The figures are based on data from Experian Hitwise, which monitors internet traffic, and show that in the week following the introduction of the paywall on 2 July, visits to the Times site fell to 33% of its pre-registration level.
The Observer says: "The site had been expected to lose 90% of its traffic.The drop may have been softened by an introductory charge of £1 for the first 30 days. Murdoch aims to charge £1 per day for access to the site or £2 for a week.
"According to Experian, the biggest drop in audience came in the five weeks ahead of the paywall going up, when visitors were asked to register their details. The site lost 58% during that period and the decline has only been modest since the wall went up."
Today paidContent:uk comments that the two-thirds drop: "won't worry many at the paper, since the whole strategy is about courting fewer, more loyal users. And it's a darn sight better than the 90% drop-off that many, including The Times' editor, have braced for.
"Ultimately, we have nothing from Times Newspapers to back any of this up - it likely won't comment on the reported customer up-take and it stopped reporting its web traffic back in April. The days are still so early; the new model is just two weeks old - traffic may fall further, but paying customers may get steadily added.We would expect the paper to shout success, if it happens, from the rooftops in the next month or two."
- Media website Beehive City estimates: Number of people registering for The Times and Sunday Times websites during the free trial period: 150,000 Number of people actually agreeing to pay money: 15,000