Paying for Content May be Realistic After All
Times online readership drop-off slowing, figures show (Craig Nicholson)
If the quality is good enough and the content worth having ….
The latest website analytics from the Times newspaper suggest that the decision to put the publication behind a paywall has not been as disastrous as many anticipated.
Data from Experian Hitwise suggests that the newspaper has retained a third of its online visitors, who are spending an average of three minutes on the site.
This suggests that visitors have not been put off paying to view content, and has still maintained a higher market share relative to the more specialist Financial Times, which is the closest rival in the paywall market.
The model differs from that selected by most news providers online, who offer their content for free, relying on drawing traffic to their website using high website ranking and website promotion, with revenue accrued mainly from adverts alongside articles.
Hitwise’s latest data has been taken from the week ending July 17th and suggests that the pubilcation’s online print media market share has dropped to 1.37 per cent, down from over four per cent two months earlier.
However, this reflects a significant slowdown compared to data published by Hitwise in the Financial Times immediately following the introduction of the paywall, when data indicated that the Times had lost two-thirds of its share.
Following the publication of these initial figures, Vivaki Nerve Centre managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Marco Bertozzi told the Financial Times: “The idea that you have less users but they are more valuable is fine to a point. “But there is no way they are going to be able to raise the price [of ads] enough to make up for the shortfall.”
Commenting on the implication of the slowdown and the prospects of the publication in the future, Hitwise’s Robin Goad noted that only “time will tell” if it is likely to experience a further drop in traffic. However, he suggested that “for now Mr Murdoch’s [owner of the Times] gamble has paid off”.