UK Times’ Traffic Has Dropped, But Nobody’s Gaining

The Times’ and Sunday Times’ share of UK newspaper web visits nearly halved from 4.37 percent to 2.67 percent in the month since it introduced new sites with a registration wall, according to Hitwise, which monitors the clicks of eight million UK users.

But it has now fallen to 1.81 percent since it started redirecting readers of the old, free Times Online site last week. Users will have to pay to register from the next few weeks.

The Times+ sign-up page is now the most clicked-to page from The Times site, taking 17.6 percent of downstream traffic. After visiting Times+, a quarter of visitors head back to The Times site itself. is proving the next most popular destination for people who turn away…

But there are no major beneficiaries from The Times’ move. and Sun Online each increased share following the registration wall’s erection, according to Hitwise’s figures – but only to levels they had enjoyed previously.

The Times introduced its registration-only site on Monday, May 24. My research shows two out of five newspaper sites recorded more readers the day after the move (Tuesday, May 25) than the same day a week earlier (Tuesday, May 18)… added 132,642, Mail Online added 457,499, but lost 167,880, 84,475 and Mirror Group Digital lost 56,917.

But correlating this effect to a cause in The Times’ registration wall is difficult – daily news site ABCes fluctuate along with the news agenda, and it’s likely everyone, at the end of May, was settling down after a record-beating election month.

Hitwise’s Robin Goad concurs: “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.”