The Times Online firewall came down briefly on the same day that Nielsen audience numbers were announced. Was this a marketing stunt? Who knows? What is more interesting is the impact that the paywall has had on the online property, reducing the readership to 362,000 from 3.1 million who visited the site before the paywall went up. From an advertising point of view, The Times thinks you will pay more for your advertisements to be seen by fewer people who are apparently more engaged. So, from a consumer point of view, I have to pay to see the same crappy display adverts that the advertiser now has to pay more for? Second, what is the value to PROs of a much diminished audience for The Times Online? Its content doesn't even have a citation value in Google rankings any more. Over time, other media will benefit from exclusives and the quality of access that they get to PR clients compared with The Times Online.
PORTAL PLAN REVEALED - Matt Bourn, 1 November
As Dan Sabbagh joins today (following his successful stint at Beehive City), there is a perfectly timed article in Press Gazette, outlining the strategic plans for Media Guardian. It sets out very clearly its ambitions to become a media portal, following in the steps of The Guardian's environment section. It is rare to hear from the Media Guardian publicly on strategy, but useful from a media PR's perspective all the same. It also reinforces just how important the sites that have RSS feeds onto the mediaguardian.co.uk home page have become, including Press Gazette, paidContent and Brandrepublic.