News International considers Olympics downtime for Times and Sunday Times paywall

News International considers Olympics downtime for Times and Sunday Times paywall

Rupert Murdoch’s News International erected a paywall around the UK’s Times and Sunday Times online content two years ago, which resulted in an almost immediate drop-off in traffic at the time.

Indeed, the debate surrounding paywalls in general has been ongoing, with The New York Times typically held aloft as the paywall poster child. But The Times and Sunday Times recently temporarily lowered the paywall to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee weekend, with perhaps more than one eye on luring more readers on board as paying subscribers.

Now, with the London Olympcs on the horizon, the word on the street is that News International is considering making the Times/Sunday Times’ online content free for a handful of days during the 3-week sporting extravaganza, which kicks off on July 27.

As MediaWeek reports, the two websites secured around 6,000 new registrations over the Jubilee weekend, with readers seeking to access the content (for free) on Saturday or Sunday having to submit an email address to do so. News International wants to convert a sixth these new sign-ups into fully-paying members.

Subscription fees start from £2 a week for digital-only access to the websites, going up to £6 a week for a full seven days of print, Internet and mobile access. MediaWeek reports that the two Times’ publications have around 130,000 paid-for subscribers to their websites and tablet editions, with a further 170,000 on board to receive the newspapers.

With the Olympics attracting interest from readers far and wide, it would be a good time for the Times to put a proverbial carrot on a stick and attempt to lure more subscribers on board, so it’s not entirely surprising if a temporary, sporadic paywall-amnesty did indeed come to fruition.

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