2009 ABCe Review: Times Got Stuck On Road To Paywall

Rupert Murdoch issued the dictate that all his news sites will go paid in 2010. This might be one reason why…

By this November, Times Online had failed to attract any more unique users than it had 12 months earlier. In fact, the site lost 667,969 uniques between November 2008 and 2009.

In other words, yesteryear’s automatic expectation of double-digit traffic growth to satisfy advertisers is as over as the belief that those advertisers alone can fund this stuff.

In traffic terms, this was the year Mail Online, Guardian.co.uk and Telegraph.co.uk broke away from the pack, Independent.co.uk bobbed along, Mirror Group made improvements and Sun Online ebbed and flowed.

In total, uniques to all seven of the ABCe-audited national publishers grew 29 percent over 2009 to 158.5 million a month. That’s nice if you’re still in the eyeballs game – but Murdoch and, increasingly, others are realising that their own eyes must start seeing greater revenue soon if these numbers are to mean anything.