Nielsen says 20% of Times website visitors go behind paywall

Nielsen estimates that 362,000 people in the UK are accessing content behind The Times and Sunday Times paywall.

This is 11.6% of the pre-paywall visitor traffic and 20% of the current visitor traffic that goes to the site but doesn’t go behind the paywall.

The research company’s data says that the paywall audience is on average more affluent and more engaged than the demographic of site visitors when Times’ content was free.

The estimate comes three months after the introduced a pay barrier and launched new websites.

Nielsen says that a monthly average of 1.78m individuals visited the site from July to the end of September (Q3) compared to 3.1m uniques during the previous, paywall-free quarter. Of the number visiting during Q3, a fifth, or 362,000, went on to look at locked down content.

Nielsen says that all registered paying customers, whether they paid online or offline “provide a richer sales proposition because of the detailed personal opt-in data they provide to News International.

The publisher hoped that subscribers would prove a more engaged audience and Nielsen data bears this out with paywall vistors averaging 42 % more pages a month than the average pre-pay wall visitor.

The demographics also show that £50,000 to £80,000 households make up a larger part of the paywall group at 29%, compared to 25% before the paywall introduction. This contrasts with a drop of 5% to 14% for households earning less than £20,000.

The paywall audience is also skewed to an older demographic with people over 50 making up 52% of the paywall group compared to 38% of the pre-paywall audience.

Since the Times titles took the initiative, sister popular newspaper the News of the World has followed suit. Other newspapers are thought to be reviewing the online pay model for all or some of their content.

Nielsen’s analysis does not include visitors from outside the UK, from mobile phones or from internet cafés and libraries. The figures include those readers with a print subscription, which gives free access, and those on free trial.

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