Jul 17, 2012

The great News Ltd paywall experiment: are readers logging off?

The Herald Sun website has shed almost 20% of its year-on-year traffic since it went behind a paywall in March -- a drop but not a calamity according to top media buyers.

Matthew Knott

Former Crikey media reporter

News Limited’s Herald Sun website has shed almost 20% of its year-on-year traffic since it went behind a paywall in March — a drop, no doubt about it, but by no means a calamity, according to top media buyers.

The Herald Sun averaged 343,103 daily unique browsers from April to June this year — an 18% decline from the same period in 2011. Traffic to the website of Melbourne rival The Age was steady over the same period, while tabloid sibling The Daily Telegraph picked up visitors, according to a Crikey analysis of Nielsen data. Visitor numbers to The Australian, which introduced a paywall last October, declined by 27%.

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32 thoughts on “The great News Ltd paywall experiment: are readers logging off?

  1. geomac62

    The traffic graph has all lines going south with no level out . Isn,t it a bit premature to assess success or deny failure ? Also how long is it since the two month or whatever it was free trial ceased ? Its not mentioned but would be of relevance .

  2. geomac62

    In the graph I mean ie relevance .

  3. Dale Roberts

    A unique user won’t necessarily mean a successful visitor. I’ve been directed to Herald Sun and The Australian countless times but go no further when I hit that paywall. So I suspect the true drop off would actually be somewhat higher.

  4. AJH

    If the SMH introduce a paywall just like the NYT, I will be happy.

    It is trivial to circumvent.

    That said, the News Ltd paywall is quite easy to circumvent anyway.

  5. John Newton

    Agree with AJH – neither is the NYT. Shee, if I can work it out, anyone can

  6. michael r james

    On a slightly different but related issue. This morning there is an article by Greg Combet in the Oz and it is paywalled!
    What is a Federal Minister doing writing something that he presumably considers of national interest, and presumably not receiving payment, but allowing it to be behind a for-profit paywall by no less than a foreign-owned media monopolist?
    In a way it reinforces one’s deathwish for this particular media giant.

    But regardless of that, Greg Comet should be ashamed to so overtly support the Murdoch empire in this way.

  7. Bill Hilliger

    Happy downward trend, keep trending down, advertisers pay far too much to advertise, as ads can now be clicked off, so that means less value and a “meh” impact on potential customers.

  8. T.Williams

    How long is it since The Australian introduced its little gold ticket scheme? Yet you can still sidestep this by cutting and pasting the article headline into Google News and read the whole thing. These people don’t deserve to be paid; possibly why they are going broke.

  9. wolfcat

    The trend also is a 20% drop during a free trial.

    Expect this number only to rise once the actual paywall is in place. Of course, that doesn’t take into account all those that just side step the paywall regardless.

  10. Bill Hilliger

    The Murdochracy media will no doubt go to the government in waiting seeking finacial assistance to keep their smelly product on the streets.

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