Comment : Is The Times' Paywall Working?

Sometimes, quality is better than sheer quantity as Rupert Murdoch's paywall experiment with the Times newspaper proves it to some extent.

Hitwise published a report which showed that the new Times Online news website had received 66 per cent less visits compared to traffic figures prior to the 2nd of July.

We do not have the breakdown of the absolute numbers and it's very unlikely that this will ever be published. However, third party websites like Alexa or Google Trends for websites do show that the drop had stabilised and is not as important as it was first thought.

More importantly, these two sources, however disputable is their validity, support Hitwise's report that is now about a third the size of the old one.

There's one more vital nugget. Dan Sabbagh, a former Times journalist, says that 150,000 registered for the Times and Sunday Times website during the free trial period with a tenth of that number actually buying content and 12,500 using the separate iPad application.

One can be sure that the six-figure number quoted as registrants is way smaller than the number of actual visitors to the website.

As a comparison, in December 2009, Times Online had 20 million unique visitors according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations Electronic.

Dan Sabbagh has also written a fairly detailed analysis of Rupert Murdoch's move.