Is The Times Paywall Paying Off?

November 2, 2010

Just how good are the Times and the Sunday Times online figures? Here’s what’s on offer Online access at £1 for a single day or £2 for a week, £10 for a month using the iPad app, if you’re a weekly paper subscriber you get online access for free.

Going by the figures released, 100k users are already weekly paper subscribers that have signed up for the free online offer, with 105k additional users, 50k of which have an online subscription.

In all honesty you can ignore the first 100k as who wouldn’t take advantage of the online version when it’s free with your paper subscription. Of the remaining 105k only 50% of them are subscribers with the remainder buying daily access. They also state that their unique monthly visitors dropped from 21m before the pay wall to 2.7m last month. But what does 2.7m unique visitors actually mean?

After all there can only be a maximum of 205k unique visitors, as that’s the maximum paying customers, so let’s divide 2.7m / 30 days = 90k per day. Compare that to their height of 21m / 30 days and you get 700k per day

Advertisers would rather have 700k pairs of eyeballs a day compared to 90k, but I guess the Times would rather have loyal paying subscribers than be at the mercy of advertisers.

As to revenues, I’m making huge assumptions here, but allowing a 50% split of weekly subscribers and daily users, that’s £2x50k (subscribers) + £1x50k (daily) = £150k a week, so not much for an organisation the size of the Times, plus how that would stack up against advertising revenues for a site with 700k visitors is anyones guess

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