Media blog Beehive is reporting ComScore figures on further falls in web traffic at The Times with readership down by another 120,000 in the last month.
It says unique users fell again in its second month behind a paywall dropping 7.6% in August to 1.459 million from July’s 1.579 million.
I wrote last week about how the paywall could be hurting the paper’s once thriving blog community as its bloggers are removed from the wider social web (Has the Times paywall killed its blogs?).
The report says more worryingly that the total time spent on the site also is also down. The fall there was steeper still (falling 16%) as overall page views dipped two million from 9 million in July to 7 million in August. That fall in time spent on the site is another indication that some people at least are getting to the homepage and going no further as they are non subscribers. I’ve done that half a dozen times or more in the last month just to check what is on its homepage.
I’m sure that this is a pattern repeated by others with none of us getting to read any content.
How much to read into these figures? Something but not everything. Last month was August with a lot of people off on their summer hols, but as that 7.6% is much larger than you would expect even for the month of August.
While ComScore’s figures say The Guardian and the Telegraph reported falls, the ABCe for August says different. It has The Guardian.co.uk up 1.1%, the Independent.co.uk up 3.9% and the Telegraph was up 3.56%. Those are significant.
That indicates the traffic that once freely roamed the Times is going elsewhere as predicted. News International has still not released any data indicating how many paying subscribers it has racked up.
It is unlikely that it will release any data at least until its ad campaign launched just over a week ago, and starring Rupert Everett, has run its course in the hope that this boosts subscriber numbers.
Next month it becomes even more interesting as the News of the World disappears behind its paywall with critics predicting that the tabloid will find it even harder to rack up subscribers than its upmarket sister title.