Rupert Murdoch's Times
Online paywall experiment has released some highly selective statistics this morning. According to the Times
's spin, they've got some 200,000 paid users for their paywalled newspaper site, and that this means, "our journalism is valuable and that customers will respond to the investment, innovation and quality that are hallmarks of our titles and our company."
But the numbers are a little odd. First of all, 100,000 of the 200,000 paid subscribers are Times print subscribers who get the online edition for free (proving, I guess, that people like free stuff?). Of the remaining 100,000 "paid subscribers," some unknown number are people who bought access to a single article or paid for a £1 trial subscription for a month, or bought the iPad or Android App. All of these categories are surely "paid customers," but they're not monthly subscribers paying full freight to access the site -- we don't even know how many people who paid for one day's access ever paid for a second day's access (or converted to a regular subscriber).
In the best case the Times got 100,000 people to sign up for an ongoing, monthly subscription. In the worst case, 80,000 people paid £1 for a month's access and never re-upped; 10,000 people bought a single article and never came back, 9,000 people paid for the Android/iPhone app and stopped using it after the first day, and 1,000 people bought monthly subscriptions.
The Times isn't saying which scenario is the correct one. As one commenter on the Guardian's front-page story points out, "If the answer looked good for this concept, they'd have told us about it, surely?"
The last time I wrote about this, the Times's Tom Whitwell (Assistant Editor), wrote in to say that they weren't yet releasing "specific numbers," but that was back in July and now it's November, and the numbers are still pretty nonspecific.
Times claims 105,000 online subscribers
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
Yes, yes there is. The ultraportable Twisty Glass Mini boasts all of the simplicity of its forebear, while fitting just a little bit better in your pocket.The Mini is perfect for casual smokers, and anyone who doesn’t have the patience or fine motor skill for rolling papers. This piece keeps the convenient design of its older […]
Learning to code is a perfect way to grow your technical sophistication, and open up a host of new career options. But since most “learn to code” initiatives focus heavily on web development, it can be tough to find good resources for general-purpose computer science outside of a 4-year degree program. To get a broad […]
While many newer smartphones boast decent water resistance, most of us are still stuck with the kind of handsets that need to spend the night in a bowl of rice when they get wet. If you want to enjoy your favorite podcasts in the shower but are holding out for your next phone upgrade, this […]