Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Media
20 July 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:17am

Putting a figure on the Times paywall audience

By Jon Bernstein

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.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Over to you, News International.

Topics in this article :