Paywall knocks The Times again

Rupert Murdoch’s increasingly paywalled fortress is still having a knock-on effect, at least for his flagship British broadsheet The Times.

When The Times went behind its paywall there was much umm-ing and ahh-ing all round. How can this work? Is this the future of journalism? The iPad app was touted as the latest and greatest way to experience news. Rich media presented in an intuitive and pleasant lay-out. High definition pictures, videos, and lots of finger swiping. And it is good. 

But not good enough to stop a 59 percent year-on-year plummet in the latest survey figures from UKOM/Nielsen. The Press Gazette lists the lot here

Other news outlets have also erected a paywall. is one of them but its rules are relaxed compared to The Times. Here’s what we’ve heard about the Daily.

Where is it all going? It certainly feels like, looking at the figures for the web, free is the way to build and maintain readership. Top dog is the BBC, with 11.14 million. Even that is down twelve percent. Second is the Daily Mail’s website, then the Guardian and the Telegraph.

The Mail, Guardian and Telegraph are constantly locked in an SEO battle, with the Telegraph particularly opaque about its efforts to climb search results and aggregate services, according to consultants we’ve talked to. 

Murdoch’s other baby, The Sun, is in the top 10 but there are still (delayed) plans for a paywall. It’s the only News International publication you can get for nowt on the internet. It’s practically nowt in the shops too, come to think of it. 

Interestingly Bing’s news aggregation service has zoomed past Google’s, at least in the UK, according to the survey of 50,000. It’s had a growth spurt of 141 percent since May last year, while Google News’ readership has fallen by 56 percent.

We’ve been watching the web news game change constantly since it began, and there still aren’t any strong clues towards where news is happening.

The last major disruptions were video, blogging, citizen journalism and aggregated content. What on Earth can be next?