back to article Times celebrates disappearing readers

The Times and The Sunday Times have given a limited peek behind their respective paywalls. News International said its websites have 105,000 paid-for subscribers, around half of whom are monthly subscribers. This figure includes subscribers to the site as well as those accessing it through iPad or Kindle apps. There are also …


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  1. mmm mmm

    A pound a day?

    JFC, more money than sense, some people and it's not like you can't get quality journalism anywhere else for free. I bet it's saved them heaps in bandwidth costs though.

    1. Code Monkey

      Encouraging for the Dirty Digger

      I don't read any of his papers, but if the Graun did similar I'd probably sign up for £2 a week.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        @Code Monkey

        They do, but it actually costs tow pondus a weke.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      I'd like some of this "quality" you speak of

      The one reason I'd never pay for news is because I don't know of any decent news sources. They're ALL crap. (Except for The Register of course don't ban me)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    good job greedy grasping billionare

    Wonder how many of these 100 thou are trials and freebies?

    1. Code Monkey

      @greedy grasping billionare

      Did you honestly expect Murdoch to give it away for free? TBH other newspapers should get their inky fingers out and follow suit or he and the bloggers will be the only game in town. Then we'll really be screwed.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @code monkey

        No, we wouldn't be screwed.

        At least, I won't. I'll simply keep using the BBC news service, seeing as I've paid for it through the licence fee.

        1. Code Monkey


          Good for you. I read the BBC's news site but find it a little light on analysis, heavy on parrotting whatever press release they've just been handed. Auntie's been poor since losing the pissing contest with Blair over reporting the cockamamie reasons for invading Iraq.

          For important stuff I want to read a second view. With a backbone.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        funny numbers

        Other reports are going in to a bit more detail, and the 100K subscribers is mainly composed of people paying £1 and £2 every so often (or just the once and never again). 100k is pretty good, but the number is being misleadingly inflated like a jumbo packet of crisp.

        It's good that they are making [some] money, and they are likely making more money now than before when it was just adds alone, but would still like a graph or two.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not forgetting

      Are the sites profitable? On those sorts of numbers I'd guess the answer is a serious no.

  3. MikeeMike

    No Kindle access

    Just thought I'd point out that The Times isn't yet available on the Kindle. The papers that are available are the Telegraph, Mail, Independent, FT and Evening Standard, so News International seem to have skipped the Kindle as a delivery mechanism completely.

    1. Mark Aggleton

      I agree

      All the news stories on the web mentioned the Kindle - not sure who issued the PR for this but left arm/right arm?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stupid title

    As long as the good 'ol BBC is still free you would be an idiot to pay for news.

    1. Clarissa


      £145.50 per year is an interesting definition of the word 'free'.

      1. Ragarath


        You already had to pay that fee to have a TV in your house and which you have no choice about.

        But it is accessible to all in the UK (even if you have not paid the license because they can't tell on the intertubes).

    2. Anonymous Coward

      BBC...NEWS...What universe is that in?

      The BBC is the last place I look for news, it makes Sky News look brilliant.

      BBC News almost never report a story unless it has pictures to retards to ogle at.

      BBC News has to lowest quality of journalism there is, most of the stories are copies of what Sky started reporting hours before, or are little more than free advertising for new products (despite the rules on no advertising on the BBC). They do love to repeat press releases word for word as “news”, plus the vital importance of reporting the happenings on EastEnders, X-Factor and “Z-List-Celebrities-wanting-Exposure”shows.

      It's not just the regular news programming, there used to an excellent, intelligent and useful program called “Working Lunch” that ran for ~14 years.

      Then the presenters were all replaced or sidelined by a younger dim bimbo and that that idiot Declan, whose business knowledge seems to peak at whether the FTSE100 has gone up or down today. Having just checked for the spelling of the idiot's name online; I find that the program was canned last July (~18 months after changes), supposedly due to new media replacing it. More like; all the regular viewers turned off after it became a piss poor shadow of the early years.

      Probably best not comment on “Panorama” these days.

      If you actually want to know what is happening in the world and you have Sky, I would recommend trying “EuroNews”, “France 24” and “NHK World”. I find it amazing how often these news channels will cover issues that effect UK residents (eg: national and international politics) and other major events around the world that are never reported by the Beeb and Sky.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        @ AC who likes Sky

        A pro-Sky troll. Wow. That must be a rare species.

        It is true that the BBC's quality has dropped in recent years, and nothing will be like BBC2 in the '80s where we had such people as Bamber Gascogne and Patrick Moore in normal-hours TV, where you could watch an entire programme with few diagrams and no crappy CGI animations.

        However... to say that the BBC copies old Sky stuff? How about the BBC at least makes some vague attempt to have a story, as opposed to Sky News sexing up nothing and inventing what doesn't exist. You know, like the time they had breaking news about tanks in London which, well, was a tank of some sort and it was in London, but that's about as far as the story was. When I see "BREAKING NEWS" on Sky, if I should happen to be on that channel (I rarely am), then I catch the headline for the gist of the story, and then change to a different channel... To be honest, the only thing I can say positive for Sky News is that way-cute Irish girl that does the weather.

        HOWEVER, not a 100% troll - you're COMPLETELY right about the bizarre censorship of the UK news. You may not realise this if you only ever listen to BBC/ITV/Sky, but there is quite a lot of stuff that never gets a mention. I watch "France24" and "NHK World" a lot [actually, my default startup for the satellite receiver is NHK World]. I would add "Al Jazeera" to the list. I rarely watch it, like I rarely watch CNN, but if some epic international shit-storm happens, I watch both and from them (pro-Arab vs pro-US) I figure I can distill a sort-of truth as to what actually might have been going on.

        But, frankly, a lot of times I avoid the news altogether. It's a load of people being killed for reasons barely understood, breathlessly reported with as much gore as would be tolerated by the various overseeing bodies [talking of bodies, was it necessary to have lingering shots of people floating face down after Katrina? that's just pandering to the shock-value mentality]. If I want to feel depressed, that's what my Sarah McLachlan CD is for...

      2. It wasnt me
        Thumb Down

        Oh really ......

        Reading your post, i'm not really sure that you are the BBC's target audience. Have you tried any 'accessible' content? Maybe something on CBeebies? When criticising the BBC for the quality of their content, it might be more appropriate to do so in coherent English.

      3. Mark Aggleton
        Thumb Down


        I was watching Sky News in Oman recently and have never seen such agenda driven interviewing on any channel on the day of the spending cuts. The reporters weren't actually listening to anything said to them. Total garbage.

  5. Livinglegend
    Dead Vulture

    And ...

    I am sure that the Times' advertisers are 'very pleased by the response' as well.

    Potential customers seeing our advertising went down overnight from 22.9 million monthly to about 200,000 monthly. Sales may drop a little; like off a cliff top.

    1. Andy Miller
      Thumb Up

      but they're quality

      Those 200,000 punters have been pre-selected as idiots who will pay good money for rubbish, so they are most advertisers target demographic.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Painful, but necessary

    I like 'free', but it isn't sustainable (or fair). Those who prepare news (and other media) deserve to be paid just like everyone else. The Times may have seen a big drop in numbers visiting the site, but it has a real business model now. It's readers appreciate and enjoy the content sufficiently to pay for it - if I was a journalist, I think I would find that far more satisfying.

  7. Jerome 0


    Assuming some duplication? Does that mean we're assuming 5,000 Times readers are dumb enough to pay twice for the same thing? Er, actually that seems fair enough.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't mind the idea for paying for news

    But I do have a couple of unrelated issues:

    1. I'd rather pay for a quality news aggregation service (I like my news from more than one source).

    2. News International? Isn't their name tainted by a single word? Fox?

  9. Paul Shirley

    going to have to stop buying readers sometime

    Given the substantial amount of advertising I'm seeing, all of it pushing the £1/month deal it's pretty hard to take 105k users as good ROI. When the advertising push stops I fully expect all their paid users to melt away and just leave the paper subscribers with their free accounts.

    Far as I can see Murdoch's still on course for total failure, the point was to make money, not spend it buying short term market share.

  10. Anonymous John

    22.9 million down to 105,000?

    That must hit their advertising revenue.

    The News Of The World is already behind a paywall. With a free trial version at present.

  11. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Still more profitable than web advertising

    Even with a 99% reduction in "footfall" and assuming the lowest tariff, the site still pulls £100-200K a week. That sounds like a much better return than any website would get from taking advertising. The key is how will they fare in the long term?

    Are those users loyal or will the numbers decline significantly over time - or once their introductory offers expire. Come back in a year for the next exciting installment!

    1. David Evans

      Not so sure

      Not sure you're right actually, admittedly taking a lot of guesses about average CPMs, unsolds and the number of page impressions those 22.9M visitors actually saw, even using low CPM figs and high unsolds (50% in my quick back of a fag packet calc), they could have been doing more than 100K a week in advertising. Now they will retain some ads, and probably at a much higher CPM (because they can target better with registered users), but I really doubt subs has made them better off (in fact I'm certain of it because if it had they'd be crowing about it), plus they're spending a shitload on marketing to get those subscribers, and most of them are at a discount; how many are going to pay the full £8 a week?

      There are too many failures of this model and very, very few successes (literally countable on the fingers of one hand) to make me believe NewsCorp have cracked it.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Hahahahahah. That really is not many at all. Perhaps they are not worth the price they are charging.

    What price will they put on Sun readership? 20p a week? Is it worth even that?

    I look forward to them backing down and saying that it was a successful experiment, but they are moving back to the freetard model as unfortunately their advertisers are leaving in droves.

    Actually I really look forward to the entire mega-corporation carrying on with this cunning plan and eventually folding, never to be seen again.

    1. Captain DaFt

      @ AC - 2nd November 2010 12:28 GMT

      "What price will they put on Sun readership? 20p a week? Is it worth even that?"

      Nope, They'd have to pay me much more than that to read it!

  13. David Harper 1

    I'd rather have my liver removed with a rusty spoon ...

    ... than pay to read a Murdoch "news"-paper, online or on paper.

  14. Gav
    Paris Hilton

    An nothing of value was lost....

    "Murdoch moved The News of the World behind a paywall just over two weeks ago."

    This is terrible. How am I supposed to know which footballers are cheating on which celebs now?

  15. Scott Mckenzie


    Assuming some loss for trials etc, they could be making around £300,000 a week from those from subscribers... i wonder how much they got in ad revenue from those 22.9 Million previously - probably very little.

  16. Miek

    a tit is required

    How retaining 1% of their customer base can be considered a success is way beyond me.

    1. zaralockwood


      making a little profit from a little loyal crowd as got to be better than having a large bunch of non payers using up bandwidth and ignoring advertising ?

    2. It wasnt me
      Thumb Down


      Define customer if you wil. Not to be confused with freeloader. Not saying I agree, just pointing out that there is a difference......

  17. John G Imrie

    I wonder

    what the advertisers are now thinking.

  18. alpine

    Paid once

    Or people who just paid £1 once to see what it was like...

  19. Dapprman

    What Kindle App

    I checked Amazon today and there's still no Kindle sub for The Times.

    Do they mean using the Kindle's web browser ?

  20. Toby Rose

    The Times ...

    ... they are a chang(e)in'!

  21. MinionZero

    That is some serious decline

    So out of that figure of 200k users 100k are printed page subscribers who ask for digital access as well. So that leaves only about 100k purely digital paying users?!

    That doesn't sound like much income to support a large newspaper work force.

    Plus its gone from 22.9 million monthly users to 200k users?! ... So over 99% of users say no more thanks Mr Murdoch?! ... that is some serious decline. Oh what a shame Mr Murdoch. ;)

    I wonder how low that figure can go before they are unviable? ... or more to the point, how low before they need to be supported by the rest of the Murdoch somewhat crumbing empire. Eventual failure couldn't happen to a more deserving person than Rupert Murdoch. But he and his family would still walk away with a lot of money and he has lived the high life for so long by being a Machiavellian bastard to people. So not much justice but at least we get to see the end of this two faced bastard.

    @"These figures very clearly show that large numbers of people are willing to pay for quality journalism in digital formats."

    Far more like... These figures very clearly show that far greater numbers of people are not willing to pay for Rupert Murdoch propaganda journalism in digital formats.

    Bye Murdoch, you are old news.

    1. The Wegie

      And of those 100K digital users . . .

      "So out of that figure of 200k users 100k are printed page subscribers who ask for digital access as well. So that leaves only about 100k purely digital paying users?!"

      Of whom approximately half don't have a continuing subscription. And I'm willing to bet that an awfully large number of those 50,000 "users" either a) read the paper once and thought "eh, well, OK, but not worth a couple of quid a week when I can get the Grauniad, Torygraph and NYTimes for free" or b) like me, coughed up the money for one particular article that they forgot to save when everything was still free.

  22. Chris Miller

    Never forget

    The Times is read by the people who run the country.

    The Telegraph is read by people who think they are running the country.

    The Independent is read by people who think they should be running the country.

    The Guardian is read by people who think another country should be running the country.

    The Mail is read by people who think another country IS running the country.

    1. LinkOfHyrule
      Paris Hilton

      Great post but...

      Great post but what I want to know is, which people are reading The Register?

      Is it the people who think Paris is running the country?

    2. Anonymous John


      The Sun is read by people who don't mind who runs the country as long as she's got large tits.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        such as your good self I'll wager..

        1. LinkOfHyrule

          Yeah but

          Yeah but I only read the Register for the stories bout Paris and cross-dressers in moats with dogs. Surely some of the readers come for the tech news, we need a readership demographics survey or something! I need to know what sort of people vote up and down my silly comments - worryingly, it seems like 80% of my comments are voted up!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "another country is running the country"

      That would be the US. I claim my £5

  23. csaenemy

    Pay per view

    Of course you realise, the next thing, if there is any substantial take up, will be extra charges for sports sections and special features.

    Remember when you paid for Sky, then a bit later you paid extra for Sky Sports, then a bit later you paid even more for Premium events, but you DID pay.

  24. There's a bee in my bot net

    Who cares?

    Title says it all...

  25. LinkOfHyrule







    There isn't enough FAIL in the world to describe this huge FAIL of Rupert's.

    Yes, this comment may appear immature, but it has to be done, you can't argue with FAIL.

  26. JCF2009

    Simply too expensive for me (and many others?)

    US $2 per week appears nominal but over time it is not competitive with all the free news services out there. Since I already subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, I don't want to add another $200/year of internet information fees to my budget. If the Times were priced more "popularly" to bring it under $100 per year I might reconsider. What does the demand curve look like for this service? I suspect that $200/year is leaving a lot of potential revenue on the table.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    you've got to move with the times

    The simple answer is that the Telegraph is the new Times - bet their advertising is way up!

  28. RW
    Thumb Down

    Quality metrics for newspapers and magazines

    What percentage of the editorial text (i.e. non-advertising) is devoted to the shenanigans of "celebrities"?

    No, wait, I'm wrong. That's an anti-quality metric.

    A secondary metric is "what percentage of blather about "celebrities" is drawn from publicity releases or other vomitus from their publicists?" This is another anti-quality metric

    Tertiary metric: "Of the regurgitated celebrity blather (see second metric for definition), how much is sarcastic and/or cynical disrespect for said celebrities?" El Reg does fairly well by this standard, it so happens.

    I started reading the e-Times quite a long time ago on the grounds that it was a newspaper of record, but as the years wore on, more and more the quality of the content declined with ever greater amounts of gush about celebrities. Murdoch's paywallization of the Times is really no loss, considering how journalistic standards have slipped at that once great newspaper.

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      In no particular order

      Does the front page headline take up more than half the page?

      Does the FP have a picture of a celeb/sports person on it (anywhere)?

      Are any words on the FP deliberately misspelled to make a pun or joke?

      Does any story occupy more than one full page? (or more than a 2-page spread)?

      Is there more sport "news" than foreign news?

      Does TV "news" and schedules take up more than one page?

      Is there a horoscope?

      The more "yes" answers, the lower the quality.

  29. Aggellos
    Paris Hilton

    Even Paris can spot a loser this big

    And how much does the new shiny advertising campaign cost promoting this new service before they where paid for ads , now they are paying for them plus minus over 20 million users.

    if they had charged say £10 per user per year at 22 million x that would have paid the bills, but the £1 a day you have got to be kidding

  30. Christopher Blackmore

    I prefer better English

    "It is early days but..." says the editor.

    Shurely (© Private Eye), she should say "These are early days..." or perhaps "This is an early day..."?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I disagree

      I think "it is early days" and "it is still early days" are colloquial expressions and you can't mess about with them without losing the exact sense or tone of the original sentence. Of course, if the original tone is one of semi-literacy, then I suppose you are right anyway...

  31. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Advertisers - more important than you may think.

    Historically a dead tree newspaper was fully paid for before it left the printers.

    The cover price was simply set to make readers feel they're getting a good deal ("it's more expensive therefore it must be better") (Usually the price is based on the raw cost of the paper/ink but there's no hard and fast rule on it other than to stop ne'er-do-wells grabbing them up and making a profit recycling the things before they've been read)

    If the Times put a paywall up they myust have felt they weren't covering costs with advertising revenue. Such actions have been tried in the past and have usually failed - usually beciase what readers are willing to pay is far less than the loss in ad revenue.

    Let's see what happens next, but I suspect a whole lot of hurting going on in about 12-18 months.

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