Times Loses Almost 90% of Online Readership 3 Weeks After Pay Wall Goes Up

July 23rd, 2010

I’ve written several posts about newspapers and their intent to put pay walls around content. Like this one and this one. It’s a subject I’ve followed with great interest in the last few years because I believe it’s flawed thinking.

I know the issues are extremely complex and I advocate protection of content, but I think this approach is like trying to drive forward by using the rear view mirror to navigate and hoping to arrive at the past. Innovation and creative thinking was what newspapers needed long ago and it’s what they need today.

News International, the British newspaper publishing company owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which owns The Times (UK — not to be confused with the NY Times) withdrew in March from voluntary ABCe auditing, saying only that it had “suspended” public reporting of traffic for Times Online and the Sun and was working with ABCe to help evolve metrics related to engagement instead.

Reading this report about the impact at the The Times (UK) …and statements like “Sabbagh goes on to calculate that the typical Times print reader is worth ‘at least two and a half times’ the average online reader” just made me shake my head.