The Globe draws 80,000 digital subscribers, but unclear how many are new customers
It was not clear how many of those Globe Unlimited digital subscribers are also five- and six-day print subscribers, who are entitled to free and unlimited online access.
The Globe and Mail has signed up 80,000 digital subscribers since it launched its paywall last October, a higher number than the newspaper executives say they had forecasted.
It was not clear how many of those digital subscribers are also five- and six-day print subscribers, who are entitled to free and unlimited online
"We're pleased with the progress to date," said publisher Phillip Crawley in an interview with Marketing Magazine on Thursday. "We are certainly seeing a lot of people who are not print subscribers sign up."
The Globe offers 10 free articles every month to non-digital subscribers. Those without a print subscription are charged a flat rate of $19.99 for the Globe Unlimited digital subscription. Articles accessed via most social-media platforms are also free, as are videos.
The newspaper also offered three-month free subscriptions to interested friends and family members of Globe employees and currently offers a one month trial for 99-cents.
Of those 80,000 subscribers, approximately 10,000 are on a one-month trial, Crawley said. The paper has been converting trial subscriptions to full subscriptions at a 90 per cent rate, he added.
A request to The Globe for clarification on the paywall numbers was not immediately answered.
The numbers were shared with Globe staff at a townhall meeting on Thursday. At the same meeting, employees said they were offered the option of taking up to the whole summer off without pay, but told it would not be mandatory. The cost-trimming measure follows a similar move last summer when employees took
a minimum of four days unpaid leave.
The Globe is the part of a growing group of Canadian newspapers going behind website paywalls. Postmedia, Torstar and Sun Media already have or will soon have some metered paywall system in place to make up the advertising shortfall.
In the four months since The Globe put up its paywall, page views have dropped between 10 per cent and 15 per cent—though there has been no
appreciable impact on daily unique visits, which have been holding steady around 4 million. The Globe has also seen an uptake in print subscribers, Crawley said, although those numbers were also not provided.
The revenue from the paywall has been about 25 per cent higher than the company's internal forecasts, the Globe reported, although Crawley did not provide any revenue numbers.
RBC Dominion Securities analyst Haran Posner said in a note to clients on Friday that while the figures provide only a partial picture, they "are mostly
encouraging for the industry on a number of fronts," citing that the paywall had no negative impact on advertising revenue and a "better-than-expected"
conversion rate of trial to paid online subscribers.
"Although the jury is still out on the overall effectiveness of digital paywalls for newspaper publishers, we view these initiatives as a positive
first step for an industry looking to offset the continued erosion in print advertising revenue," Mr. Posner wrote.