News Corp Sees Digital Payments Soften But Not Reverse UK Sales Decline

Posted on February 16, 2012

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More than a year and a half after News Corp.‘s flagship UK “quality” papers introduced new paid digital outlets, their effect is becoming clear – they are softening ongoing print circulation declines, but not overturning them.

Latest figures issued by News International show The Times and Sunday Times websites, apps and digital editions gathered a total 6,147 new customers in January…

The Times (UK) paid salesUsing digital to boost flagging newspaper fortunesPrint circulation (ABC)Digital subscriptionsNov 10DJFeb 11MAMJun 11JASep 11Oct 11Nov 11Dec 11Jan 120k100k200k300k400k500knull445,962440,581429,554417,197413,233409,060405,11350,00079,000101,036111,036112,616116,134116,902119,255http://cnt.to/pTb

The Sunday Times (UK) paid salesUsing digital to boost flagging newspaper fortunesPrint circulation (ABC)Digital subscriptionsNov 10DJFeb 11MAMJun 11JASep 11Oct 11Nov 11Dec 11Jan 120k1000k250k500k750k1250knull1,045,4951,000,848984,223967,990967,615935,442967,97550,00075,13397,004105,594107,569110,569110,024113,818http://cnt.to/pTb
But, despite the customer additions, total cross-format paid sales for each title are lower than a year ago…

Times Newspapers Total Paid SalesAdding new digital sales to print keeps up combined figuresThe TimesThe Sunday TimesFeb 11MAMJun 11JASep 11Oct 11Nov 11Dec 11Jan 120k1000k250k500k750k1250k524,962541,617540,590529,813529,367525,962524,3681,120,6281,097,8521,089,8171,075,5591,078,1841,045,4661,081,793http://cnt.to/pTb
News International combines print and new digital paid copies to show that total paid sales are holding up. When combined, Times sales look healthier than they would be if observers considered only print circulation, which is falling despite a seasonal fillip at The Sunday Times.

The Times’ web traffic has fallen from 20 million monthly uniques, but consider that, in the paid environment, a whole fifth of The Times’ sales are now digital. What’s more, those customers are long-term subscribers.

Typically, iPad has played a big part in generating the Times’ digital custom. The daily title saw an average 59,882 copies downloaded daily in January, while the Sunday stablemate clocked 63,959.

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