Putting a figure on the Times paywall audience

Given that News International isn't saying, it is left to others to guesstimate the size of the Times and Sunday Times online audience since the papers went behind a paywall earlier this month.

At the weekend, the media commentator Dan Sabbagh (a former Times man himself) reported that 15,000 people have agreed to pay for the service to date. That's just 10 per cent of those who signed up for a free trial a month or so earlier. (On a more positive note, it's understood that 12,500 people are paying to read the papers on the Apple iPad.)

Meanwhile, the blogger and new media consultant Malcolm Coles has come up with an ingenious way of putting a figure on the daily audience. Coles has compared the number of comments on a particular Times story with comments to a similar story on the Guardian website, on the assumption that the ratio of readers to comments is roughly the same across news sites. He extrapolates his numbers from there and comes up with 46,154 unique users a day.

There are plenty of caveats in Coles's conclusion, but taken together with Dan Sabbagh's numbers (and remembering that subscribers to the existing Times+ services and subscribers to the print edition automatically get access to the site), these estimates appear to make sense.

Over to you, News International.

Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

Oli Scarff/ Getty
Show Hide image

Andy Burnham's full speech on attack: "Manchester is waking up to the most difficult of dawns"

"We are grieving today, but we are strong."

Following Monday night's terror attack on an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena, newly elected mayor of the city Andy Burnham, gave a speech outside Manchester Town Hall on Tuesday morning, the full text of which is below: 

After our darkest of nights, Manchester is today waking up to the most difficult of dawns. 

It’s hard to believe what has happened here in the last few hours and to put into words the shock, anger and hurt that we feel today.

These were children, young people and their families that those responsible chose to terrorise and kill.

This was an evil act. Our first thoughts are with the families of those killed and injured. And we will do whatever we can to support them.

We are grieving today, but we are strong. Today it will be business as usual as far as possible in our great city.

I want to thank the hundreds of police, fire and ambulance staff who worked throughout the night in the most difficult circumstances imaginable.

We have had messages of support from cities around the country and across the world, and we want to thank them for that.

But lastly I wanted to thank the people of Manchester. Even in the minute after the attack, they opened their doors to strangers and drove them away from danger.

They gave the best possible immediate response to those who seek to divide us and it will be that spirit of Manchester that will prevail and hold us together.

0800 7318496