Following reports that readers and advertisers alike have ditched The Times of London’s website since a paywall went in front of it back in May, News Corp./News International have finally released some internal metrics.News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch, who is bullish about charging for news online, had previously said, “we have had an encouraging number of people subscribing at a good price.”
That number, so far, is around 50,000 monthly digital-only subscribers, which includes subscribers to the Times and Sunday Times websites, and the Times iPad and Kindle editions, according to a press release, which also states: “The new digital products have achieved more than 105,000 paid-for customer sales to date.” (Additionally, 100,000 print subscribers enjoy bundled access to the digital editions.)
We’re guessing this will be one of Murdoch’s talking points on News Corp.’s third-quarter earnings call tomorrow morning.
News International today announces that the new digital products for The Times and The Sunday Times have achieved more than 105,000 paid-for customer sales to date.
Around half of these are monthly subscribers. These include subscribers to the digital sites as well as subscribers to The Times iPad app and Kindle edition. Many of the rest are either single copy or pay-as-you-go customers.
In addition to the digital-only subscribers, there are 100,000 joint digital/print subscribers who have activated their digital accounts to the websites and/or iPad app since launch.
As a result, the total paid audience for digital products on The Times and The Sunday Times is close to 200,000 (allowing for some duplication in the digital customer sales number).
Rebekah Brooks, Chief Executive, News International, said: “We are very pleased by the response to our new digital services. These figures very clearly show that large numbers of people are willing to pay for quality journalism in digital formats. It is early days but renewal rates are encouraging and each of our digital subscribers is more engaged and more valuable to us than very many unique users of the previous model.”
James Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive, Europe and Asia, News Corporation, said: “We are excited by the progress that we have made in a very short space of time. In the few months since we launched these new products, the total paid circulation of The Times has grown. This reinforces our belief that our journalism is valuable and that customers will respond to the investment, innovation and quality that are hallmarks of our titles and our company.”
Many of the early adopters live in the UK, are relatively affluent and engage with the products frequently. There is a particularly high level of engagement amongst those that have downloaded the app, the majority of whom would recommend it to friends.
The new sites, http://www.thetimes.co.uk and http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk, are available for a charge of £1 for a day’s access or £2 for a week’s subscription. As an introductory offer, all customers that register for the sites get access to both sites for a one-off charge of £1 for the first 30 days. Access to the sites is included in the seven-day subscriptions of print customers to The Times and The Sunday Times.
The Times iPad app is available for £9.99 a month or as part of a digital subscription. The Sunday Times will launch an iPad app shortly.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.