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The Times and Sunday Times hits 300,000 digital-only subs

09 Aug 2019  |  Michaela Jefferson 
The Times and Sunday Times hits 300,000 digital-only subs

Publisher News UK has surpassed 300,000 digital-only paid subscribers for The Times and The Sunday Times, a growth rate of 19% year-on-year.

According to the publisher, the figures mark the newsbrands' most successful year since launching its digital subscription model in 2010, following last year's announcement that digital subscribers had overtaken print for the first time.

Whilst there has been a lot of experimentation with subscription models by other newsbrands - from 'premium packages' to membership schemes - News UK is the only publisher to have hidden all of its digital content behind a paywall from the beginning. The Times and The Sunday Times now have 304,000 digital-only subscribers and 539,000 subscribers overall.

In a recent speech to the Society of Editors, John Witherow, editor of The Times, said: "Ten years ago The Times pursued its own course...the paywall succeeded because we established a price for digital journalism. We recruited subscribers. We turned a profit. And we continued to invest in the highest quality journalism. This might seem obvious now but it is only with hindsight that we see that we were years ahead of our rivals.

"[The industry is] still an exciting place to be. It always will be. The task is to adapt to the new technology, to make it our friend, to put it at the service of our journalism.”

However, putting its content behind a paywall has come at the expense of reach for both The Times and The Sunday Times. According to the latest PAMCo data, The Times has a total monthly brand reach of 8.6 million, including 3.5 million on mobile. This sits at the low end of the daily qualities market, which The Guardian leads with a total brand reach of just under 25 million.

Nevertheless, both newsbrands continue to lead their respective print markets in terms of circulation. The Times recorded an average daily circulation of 400,000 according to the June ABCs, while The Sunday Times hit 687,000.

“The Times and The Sunday Times continue to show that people value quality journalism and are prepared to pay a premium for news they can trust," said Chris Duncan, managing director of TNL.

"We’re delighted to have had another successful year in terms of digital growth, attracting new subscribers in the UK and across the globe. We invest in the news service to build both frequency and loyalty among our readers. We continue to marry the practices of world class journalism with innovations like our AI powered 'digital butler' that helps people navigate the news that matters.”

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11 Dec 2019 

Data from Mediatel Connected
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