News International has put out some updated figures detailing how The Times and The Sunday Times paywalls are performing.
Back in March we reported that News International was claiming 79,000 digital subscribers. That figure has risen to just over 100,000 in time for its first birthday. It is a nice round number.
In all The Times and The Sunday Times have 101,036 current, monthly digital subscribers as of the end of June, up from 79,000 at the start of March — that’s an increase of 28%. This includes subscribers to all digital channels: the websites, the iPad and the Kindle.
We also learn that The Times is downloaded onto an average of 35,000 iPads every day, an increase of 40% in the four months since February.
The average for The Sunday Times is 31,000, an increase of 41%. Digital and seven day print subscribers all have access to the iPad edition and this figure also includes those who have subscribed directly through Apple.
News International says that in total there are more than 250,000 joint print/digital and digital-only subscribers to The Times and The Sunday Times at the end of June.
Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International, said: “One year on from launch we have proved that people are willing to pay for quality journalism in digital formats. Many doubted if our digital strategy would be successful, here is unequivocal proof it is moving in that direction.
“We have more committed subscribers than ever before and they are choosing to access our journalism in whatever format suits them best. The growth rate for take up on tablets is moving at pace and we believe this valuable and attractive audience accessing our digital products will continue to grow.”
On the plus side it is progress – 22,000 new subscribers is positive news. The News International paywall strategy is moving forward, but is it as fast as they would like?
In the negative column, as I have said too many times before, I am sure it would be moving forward faster, and winning more subscribers if The Times took an open approach to social media rather than an anti-social media approach, but that is just me.
We’ve seen how important the New York Times thinks this is as it experiments and tweaks its social media putting real people behind its Twitter feed as “experiment” for instance.
In May we learnt in some quarters that News International wasn’t completely happy with its anti-social media paywall policy as we heard it was taking a different approach for The Sun.