Want to see what the launch of a paywall does to a news site’s traffic? Take a look at this graph from Hitwise.

Market share of uk internet visits to newspaper websites following times paywall chart 500x395 Times Traffic Drops Off a Cliff After Paywall Launch

While other sites have held steady, the Times’ market share has dropped from 4.37% during the week ending May 22nd to 2.67% last week. Its average session time has also fallen from an average of five and half to three minutes. However, as Hitwise’s Robin Goad notes: “That figure is actually higher than many people would have expected, given that a lots of visitors will be spending very little time there if they are choosing not to register.”

The Times doesn’t strictly have a proper ‘pay’wall yet, it’s simply asking users to register to view content for the time being. When users have to pay, we can probably expect an even greater drop.

Of course, the Times shouldn’t be too worried by the drop. Introduction of a paywall was always bound to reduce the site’s audience. The fact that the Times gets a regular income from that smaller audience is much more important to publisher News International.