So now we can begin to compare the (rough) benefits of paywalls or no-walls around newspaper websites, as external auditors move in. The latest ABC report says the Times has 75,597 tablet subscribers and the Sunday Times 88,603. It’s impossible to work out what revenue that tots up to over a year of £6 a week, because ABC doesn’t deal in bargain introductory offers and churn. Let’s say, though, that it’s well over £20m. But, on the separate National Readership Survey, the numbers of paying web readers add only 3.9% to daily readership totals.
And the Guardian? No general paywall; £6.99 a month on tablet and smartphone. But relatively open access adds 141.8% to the total readership of the Guardian and Observer, turning 907,000 daily print followers into 2,194,000. Nobody can discern comparative advertising revenues, nor how such charges affect “free” growth. But the dimensions of choice begin to emerge from the mists, just a little.