Have the Sunday Times sales stats demonstrated pay wall success?
Wednesday, November 03 2010 by Catherine Ferguson
In the absence of published website promotion analytics, the Times and the Sunday Times newspapers appear to be relying on more traditional measures to gauge the success of moving behind an online pay wall.
Earlier this week, the parent company responsible for the newspapers, News International, revealed that both publications have received 105,000 paid-for customers sales online to date , with around half of these being monthly subscribers.
These figures are significant because of the level of interest that Rupert Murdoch's decision to move these two media giants behind an online pay wall attracted.
In total, the company estimates that the total paid audience for Times and Sunday Times digital products is close to 200,000, with an addition of around 100,000 subscribers that have activated digital accounts using an iPad app or through the website.
Unsurprisingly, this has all been received very well by News International and parent company News Corporation.
James Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corporation in Europe and Asia, said: "In the few months since we launched these new products, the total paid circulation of The Times has grown.
"This reinforces our belief that our journalism is valuable and that customers will respond to the investment, innovation and quality that are hallmarks of our titles and our company."
What is interesting about this data, according to Tim Glanfield in a post on Bee Hive City, is that the lack of detail about what these figures actually mean, or where they come from.
He notes that some monthly subscribers are likely to be on the 30-day introductory trial offer costing just £1. Mr Glanfield also points out that News International has made no distinction between subscriptions that are just a day pass, and those that are for a full monthly or weekly subscription.
He indicates that News International lays claim to 100,000 activated memberships, including monthly subscriptions, but "gives us absolutely no idea of how many of those people continue to use them".