It’s been a rough week for The Times of London, as competitors like The Guardian report headline articles such as:
“Times loses almost 90% of online readership”
What’s the cause for the drop in online readers? The Times has instituted a pay-wall for viewers to access content, and like those that came before (FT with its graduated paywall, WSJ with the same, etc.), traffic to the site has plunged.
Who could have predicted the striking reaction? Why Criterion Global and KPMG of course, in May of 2009 no less. Despite arguments to the contrary from media, as our 2009 blog entry shows, Britons would overwhelmingly rather see heavy advertising on a site rather than pay for content.
Oddly, many pro-paywall arguments hinge on the fact that many are still willing to pay for the newspapers’ “premium” pay-only content, despite the fact that some of the most successful new print players in UK media this decade have been free (Shortlist, the Evening Standard as of April 1st this year) – even if we’ve lost some of our favourite freebies in the wake of recession (London Paper, RIP).
For the moment, The Times can still tell its advertisers that they’re reaching a “premium” audience willing to pay for content – even if that audience is just 10% the size it once was.
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