News Corp.’s News International announced official paid-subscription figures for the online versions of The Times and The Sunday Times, claiming more than 105,000 paid subscribers to the sites and saying that one-half of those are monthly subscribers (including iPad and Kindle customers), with the rest made up of single-view customers.
News International added that there are also 100,000 joint print and digital subscribers to the two newspapers, bringing its total paid roll to about 200,000.
Access to content behind the sites’ paywall costs Â£1 ($1.60) per day or Â£2 ($3.20) per week, with an introductory offer of Â£1 for the first 30 days.
The official subscription figures come days after estimates of severe drops in unique monthly visitors and click-throughs from Nielsen and Experian Hitwise.
The Times editor Jeremy Harding told BBC Radio 4’s Today, as reported by paidContent:
Over 2 million people look at the front page of The Times. We were engaged in a quite suicidal form of economics, which was giving our news away for free. We haven’t been cut off from the conversation, because the media works as a huge echo chamber, and readers are commenting on our stories in a more engaging way.
News International CEO Rebekah Brooks said in a statement:
We are very pleased by the response to our new digital services. These figures very clearly show that large numbers of people are willing to pay for quality journalism in digital formats. It is early days, but renewal rates are encouraging, and each of our digital subscribers is more engaged and more valuable to us than very many unique users of the previous model.
News Corp. chairman and CEO, Europe and Asia James Murdoch added:
We are excited by the progress that we have made in a very short space of time. In the few months since we launched these new products, the total paid circulation of The Times has grown. This reinforces our belief that our journalism is valuable and that customers will respond to the investment, innovation, and quality that are hallmarks of our titles and our company.