Combined, the papers’ paid digital readership online, or via an iPad or Kindle, was up 63% in February from the last post-paywall figures reported for October.
News International states it had 228,000 joint print/digital and digital-only subscribers in total to the Times and Sunday Times at the end of February, up from 205,000 in October.
However, those figures came under scrutiny from the media industry, with some analysts accusing the data of being “unconvincing” and “vague” for not including detailed breakdowns.
News International charges £2 a week for access to the Times and Sunday Times websites or £1 for a 24 hour pass.
News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks says: “Our industry is being redefined by technology and we will no longer measure the sales and success of our newspapers in print circulation terms alone. The combination of print and digital is a potent force for our great journalism and our commercial success.”
As a result of the increase in digital subscribers, News International says there was a 15-point swing in total paid-for sales of The Times in the four month period from October to February.
However, The Times’ UK print circulation dropped 2.47% month on month to 445,962 and is down 14.13% year on year, according to the latest ABC figures. The Sunday Times’ print circulation rose 0.59% month on month to 1,045,495 but its down 9.44% year on year.
News International cites its iPad apps as the main drivers behind the success of its digital offering. Access to its iPad editions costs £2 a week.
The Times says 79% of its “committed” customers earn higher than average salaries, with 46% earning more than £50,000, presenting marketers the opportunity to communicate with a highly engaged and premium audience.