The Times adds digital subscribers as numbers grow to 131,000

The Times frontpage, May 15, 2012The Times has given an update on digital subscription numbers and says  The Times and Sunday Times now have 131,000 digital subscribers across all platforms.

That is an improvement on figures it gave in February when News International said its two UK newspaper websites behind paywalls had 119,255 digital subscribers for The Times and 113,818 for the Sunday Times.

Overall The Times and Sunday Times have a combined print and digital subscriber base of 297,000.

The update follows former Guardian MD Tim Brooks last week arguing that The Times paywall will evolve into freemium model —  he sees no future for its closed anti-social media paywall.

Brooks said: “I would expect them to move towards some kind of freemium model, where access is easier and you don’t just get that blank, you need to pay to see this the minute you hit The Times.”

The NI update came this morning via Dominic Carter, commercial director at News International, who was speaking at an industry event.

Carter said that The Times’ paywall offered News International a “sustainable future, which could not be achieved through advertising alone”.

The update from News International on The Times follows Canada’s Globe and Mail last week announcing it too was implementing a paywall.

Like 99% of the market where paywalls are in place the Globe and Mail is opting for a metered version similar to that used by The New York Times and The Financial Times. This will give away between 10- and 20 stories before asking readers to pay.

Both the NYT and FT and other paywalls allow content some content to be viewed and shared on social media. The Times paywall has been dubbed an anti-social media paywall as it gives nothing away acting as a disincentive to users wanting to share content.