Research by Oliver and Ohlbaum Associates suggests that The Times has converted 14% of its online audience to paywall subscribers of some kind – reports journalism.co.uk. The findings were presented to an audience that included News International’s director of strategy and product development Dominic Young, who, in responding, did not contradict the figures.
Little wonder. In the build up to the paywall, senior NI executives told staff that they expected to lose 96% of web traffic once the payment was required. Even allowing for their deliberately dampening expectations, this suggests that the paywall has significantly exceeded internal expectations.
More fascinating still, though, is how analysis of NI’s paywall has polarised commentators. Quite possibly the only definitive evidence of the paywall’s success of failure will come a year or so hence, when it becomes clear whether it is generating sufficient revenue to sustain the initiative.