Britain's Times releases paywall customer figures

Nov 02, 2010
A man is seen looking at The Times newspaper's website. Some 105,000 people have paid to read British newspapers The Times and The Sunday Times online after its owners erected a paywall, they said Tuesday.

Some 105,000 people have paid to read British newspapers The Times and The Sunday Times online after its owners erected a paywall, they said Tuesday.

Around half of that figure are monthly subscribers, News International said in a statement.

The newspapers now charge one pound (1.1 euros, 1.6 dollars) a day or two pounds a week to read online after introducing charges in July.

The experiment is being watched around the world as newspapers battle falling sales and advertising increasingly moves online.

The Times's headline figure in September was 486,868 -- down nearly 15 percent on the same time the previous year. For the Sunday Times, the figure was just over a million, down nearly 10 percent year-on-year.

Executives at the newspapers, part of media baron Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation stable, said they were pleased with the figures.

"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," said James Murdoch, its chairman and chief executive for Europe and Asia.

But some commentators say the figures released do not provide enough information to draw conclusions on whether the experiment has been successful yet.

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