WHEN THE Daily Telegraph began charging for access to its website in March this year, it became the first British general-interest newspaper to employ the metered paywall model.
People were initially allowed to read 20 articles a month on the paper's site for free, but that number has since been reduced to 10. The Telegraph's decision comes after its launch in November 2012 of the metered model on its international website. According to its press release for the United Kingdom (UK) launch, nine out of 10 people who take a monthlong free trial go on to subscribe. Existing print and digital subscribers in Britain had unlimited access to the website as part of their current packages at no extra cost.
Telegraph editor Tony Gallagher said at the time: "We want to develop a closer rapport with our digital audience in the UK, and we intend to unveil a number of compelling digital products for our loyal subscribers in the months ahead." And Graham Horner, the Telegraph Media Group's marketing director, said: "This step marks the next stage in our subscription strategy.
"Our priority is always to deliver choice and value to our customers. The continual evolution of our subscription packages ensures that we deliver on this promise."
Audited national newspaper website figures for April (the first full month where the metered paywall was in operation) showed encouraging numbers. The new figures show overall traffic for Telegraph.co.uk up both month on month and year on year in April. Telegraph.co.uk showed 3,041,594, up 29.8 per cent. In June, audited figures showed it had 2.73 million unique browsers a day, up 16 per cent on the same month in 2012, and 54 million monthly browsers.
Print sales, though declining steadily, have fallen slower than other papers. The Daily Telegraph, for example, sold an average of 558,817 copies in July, 3.86 per cent fewer than in the same month in 2012. By contrast, some rivals suffered double-digit falls.