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Boost in digital subscribers for the Times and Sunday Times

Boost in digital subscribers for the Times and Sunday Times

News International has reported steady growth in the number of digital subscribers to the Times and Sunday Times since both publications went behind a paywall in July 2010.

According to News International figures, the Times now has 119,255 digital subscribers, and the Sunday Times has 113,818. At both publications, the number of digital subscribers to has risen each month since September, when the Times had 111,036 subscribers and the Sunday Times had 105,594.

The company claims that in January, on average, 59,882 iPad editions of the Times were downloaded per day - an increase of 35% since September 2011. The Sunday Times was downloaded on the iPad an average of 63,959 times a week - an increase of 80% since last September.

The Times has also launched a web app for Safari and Google Chrome that recreates the "newspaper-like" experience of the Times tablet edition.

Described by the paper as "like reading the newspaper, but with all the interactivity of the web" the new web app features graphics, picture galleries and videos, at the same time as a navigation function that feels like page turning. The Times writes that the app, which was originally built for Android before being converted, will be available to subscribers at no extra charge for a two-week trial period.

The Times web development editor Lucia Adams tweeted on Monday "readers told us they loved the linear reading experience on tablets, so we made an interactive version of the edition for web".

Despite this positivity from the digital division, ABC figures for January show that the Times' and and Sunday Times' print circulation is still dropping.

There's no doubt that News Corp's publishing business is not having an easy time:

according to the Guardian, the company facing a "civil war" at the Sun, where staff are now in talks with the National Union of Journalists about hiring a human rights lawyer to question the legality of News Corp's internal investigation into phone hacking and other illegal activities at its papers.

Financially things aren't looking that rosy either. While News Corp reported soaring profits for its overall business last week, this was no thanks to its publishing division, where income declined by 43% between October and December 2011 compared to the same period the previous year.

So for the moment it's clear that the Times' digital strategy isn't about to solve all News International's publishing woes. But does the new web app still look fun to play with? Yes.

Sources: The Guardian (1) (2) sfn blog, News International, The Times,


Hannah Vinter


2012-02-15 18:12

Shaping the Future of the News Publishing

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