Good reads – 07 04 10

1. Experian Hitwise on the The London Times going behind a paywall

With the venerable London Times being one of the first major News Corp papers to go behind a paywall, we are all waiting to see what happens. Experian Hitwise has an interesting analysis of what the consequences of the first step–requiring registration–were.

the title’s market share has dropped from 4.37% during the week ending May 22nd to 2.67% last week (w/e June 19th).

the conclusion so far seems to be this: since it forced users to register in order to view its content, the Times has lost market share. However, this decline has clearly not been catastrophic and none of the paper’s rivals has particularly benefitted. Yet.

And this is before they actually start charging for content in a very competitive market for national newspapers in the UK.

2. More paywalls

Gannett, the largest US newspaper company, is embarking on its own paywall experiment, though admittedly with less well-known titles. The Tallahassee Democrat in Florida, the Spectrum in Utah, and Greenville News in South Carolina have introduced a range of subscription packages beginning July 1st, as editorsweblog notes. All three are local newspapers with circulations under 100,000, presumably not facing stiff competition on local news, and thus may in way be better positioned than the London Times to charge for at least some of their original content.

3. International blogging research

My friend John Kelly’s ever interesting research with Morningside Analytics was featured in the Economist a little while back

ONLINE archaeology can yield surprising results. When John Kelly of Morningside Analytics, a market-research firm, recently pored over data from websites in Indonesia he discovered a “vast field of dead blogs”. Numbering several thousand, they had not been updated since May 2009. Like hastily abandoned cities, they mark the arrival of the Indonesian version of Facebook, the online social network.


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