The results of The Times’ paywall move (and a couple of changes in the media)

How will pay walls affect the technical PR industry?As many of you will know from the warning I gave a couple of months back, The Times’ and The Sunday Times’ Web sites are now behind a paywall. (Paywall, by the way, is fashionable media slang for having to pay to read the content. Clever huh?)

And it’s been a massive failure with the newspaper losing 90% of its online readers. These figures are based on the 150,000 people registered during the trial period and the 15,000 who have registered to pay.

Oh, hang on though; it’s actually been a massive success with 30,000 extra print copies of the paper being sold every day. What’s more, 12, 500 people have bought The Times' separate iPad application. So, while the news now reaches fewer people, 57, 500 more people pay to read the paper than were paying to read it before. Not bad going really.

It’s fascinating to see that print publishing may actually become more relevant as time goes on (excuse the pun). If other publishers follow the paywall model, we may actually see more commuters with newspapers under their arms and more paperboys making themselves late for school each day. Both time honoured traditions that I will be happy to welcome home.

But could this change extend into trade and technical publishing? I think it may well do so. I had a conversation the other day with the editor of an august journal in the food industry (which has always charged its readers to receive copies) and he pointed out that the idea of getting a ‘free subscription’ was, to him, an oxymoron. It may well be that our free subscriptions to the web sites of those trade titles that charge for their print equivalents could be coming to an end. What then will happen to the Web sites of free trade titles?

But finally, before I go, a couple of media moves that might interest you.

Lloyd's Loading List and Containerisation International have welcomed Randeep Panesar as marketing executive. Meanwhile, Biologist and the Journal of Biological Education, published by the Institute of Biology, have taken on Andrea Melendez to replace Editor Bill Parry.

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Richard Stone

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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