Nov 10

The Times paywall numbers: what counts for what

By bundling together different varieties of consumers of the digital versions of The Times and the Sunday Times which might usefully have been kept separate, the two papers managed to squeeze a headline figure – 105,000 – just into six figures.

That number is for “customer sales” for the past four months. As a method of   reporting this doesn’t even begin to be convincing. Any business journalist on either title confronted with this sort of chicanery from another company in the online market would gleefully rip into the executives releasing numbers in such opaque form. But it’s not very likely that News International will be getting that treatment in the pages of either paper.

The best analysis I’ve seen so far has been from Rob Andrews of PaidContent and Ian Burrell of The Independent. The most detailed working of the figures is here. Burrell defiantly continues the quixotic old-fashioned practice of actually ringing up experts and recording what they say.

Six quick observations to help interpret the interpretations: Continue reading →


May 10

Paywalls (part 93)

So much coverage and discussion of charging for online news sites is coloured by prejudice, emotion and vested interest that it’s worth marking a piece which surveys the scene without any of those disadvantages. Very fair survey in today’s Independent by their media guru Ian Burrell, which captures the shift in thinking that is going on all over news publishing, and not just in News Corporation. Disclosure: I naturally think this piece is worth reading as I’m quoted at the end.