Regwall cuts The Times's online readership in half

Rupert Murdoch's Times newspaper has instituted a registration wall as a preliminary step toward a full-blown paywall. Readership of the online edition immediately dropped by 50%.

But, according to Hitwise's numbers, simply adding the registration barrier has cut traffic to the site almost in half. Prior to the change, The Times was seeing somewhere in the neighborhood of four to five percent of the traffic going to the print news media category; after, it was hovering around two percent.

Hitwise also tracked where users were going once they hit the registration page. About a third stay on one of The Times' properties, but many head straight to another news site (The Telegraph and The Guardian are big winners here), or simply to Google.

UK paper requires free Web accounts; traffic plunges