Times discusses paid-content rationale

Times.co.uk is banking on the quality of its content and “influential audience” to make its paywall a success.

Assistant editor Tom Whitwell told an audience at the Association of Online Publishers yesterday that News International was fully aware that imposing a paid-content model would dramatically decrease user numbers, but that it was better in the long-term to differentiate in an industry characterised by an unsustainable proliferation of “showbiz gossip”, “commodity news” and “drive-by traffic”.

He said The Times was eschewing this in favour of building a close-knit and highly “influential” community, that “advertisers would be keen to access”.

“We didn’t want to go down the route of flashy display ads that our peers are doing,” he said. “We talked to our readers throughout the research process, asking them what they wanted, and we found that they wanted less clutter, less links, and less adverts.”

Responding to a question about a potential lack of interaction as a result of decreasing user numbers, Whitwell said, “We all know that having thousands of comments on a story doesn’t necessarily make for good debate. It’s what you take out and how you interpret it.”

CRM will be a key pillar of The Times’ paid content strategy, with times.co.uk staff, including journalists, fully accessible to subscribers, while fostering loyalty among the next generation will be helped by spin-offs and offline activity, such as The Times’ schools spelling competition.

This story first appeared on newmediaage.co.uk

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here