July 27, 2010|
The London Times is one of the first major global newspapers to begin implementing an internet pay wall for access to its news and editorial content. This bold move by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is part of an overall strategy to move toward a paid online content distribution system, and is aimed at helping to turn a profit for the flailing newspaper publishing industry. Before the launch of this pay wall, The London Times had the 40th largest newspaper circulation in the world, and the results of the profit-driven wall could be indicative of what the rest of the newspaper industry can expect to undergo in the coming years.
The paywall restriction went into full effect in early July 2010, and first reported subscriber figures look disappointing. Numbers of readers is down across the board, despite the newspaper’s effort to reach out to new readers. Access to the site currently costs 2£ per week – which is a substantial discount from the paper subscription price. However, for the week ending July 10th, reports indicate that overall traffic fell to only 33% of its pr-pay wall level. The Times supports both standard operating systems and the iPad OS, allowing readers with WiFi connections to read content on the go.
In an August 2006 research reports, The Bivings Group looked at the use of internet by America’s newspapers, and a great deal has changed in the four years since the findings were released.
What this means for The Future of Pay Walls
The pay wall is generating profit, but if page views exponentially decline, then the Times’ online ad revenue will undoubtedly suffer. A market leader in the United States, the Wall Street Journal runs a fiscally profitable pay wall, due in part to the fact that its site content is highly valued across the globe. The London Times may be encountering problems due to having no-cost substitutes Issues with low initial readership may be overcome if the newspaper’s other competitors institute similar pay walls and leave the reader no choice than to pay 2£ per week to read their favorite newspapers.