Times Online visitors almost halve since paywall introduction

The number of visitors to Times Online has almost halved since the introduction of the paywall, according to ComScore’s latest figures for newspaper traffic during July.

Times Online, which introduced its paywall on 2 July, saw its number of unique visitors drop from 2.79m in May to 2.22m in June, and then to 1.61m in July.

The traffic figures bode better than the predictions of some industry observers – that the paper would lose more than 90% of its online readership.

Engagement metrics, however, including dwell time and total number of pages viewed have also decreased, despite the assumption that subscribers would be “more committed to and engaged with” the title.

News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks told News International staff in May that she excepted the number of unique users of the site come down dramatically, but that those who registered would be customers who had made a positive decision to pay a fair price for journalism that they valued, and they would be more committed to and engaged.

Visitors to Times Online have spent less time since May, with dwell time decreasing from 7.6 minutes in May to 5.8 minutes in June, before dropping to 4 minutes in July.

Total page views decreased from 29m in May to 20m in June and fell to 9m in July.

This compares with Mail Online, which attracted 8.997m total unique visitors for July, 215m total pages viewed and an average of 25 minutes spent on the site per user.

Despite the drop, Times Online is above Metro.co.uk, which now ranks bottom of the online papers, with 1.466m total unique visitors, a total of 11m pages viewed, and a dwell time of 5 minutes.

Times Online’s offer of subscribing for £1 for the first month may have helped stem the migration of online readers to other titles. The next challenge will be to attract a loyal subscriber base that is willing to pay full price.

This story first appeared on newmediaage.co.uk


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