The Times combined readership up 8%

The Times: combined readership is up despite a drop in its print audience
The Times: combined readership is up despite a drop in its print audience

The Times' combined digital and print readership grew by almost eight per cent between February 2012 and April 2013, despite its print readership declining by two per cent, according to figures commissioned by its publisher News UK.

The Times' aggregate weekly readership increased from 4.242 million in February 2012 to 4.574 million in April 2013. The Sunday Times grew from 3.449 million to 3.497 million over the same period.

This means The Times' de-duplicated aggregate weekly readership across print, website, mobile and tablets increased by 7.8 per cent, while The Sunday Times experienced an increase of 1.39 per cent.

The figures were published as part of an independently assured PwC study commissioned by News UK Commercial.

The data shows that digital growth negates a two per cent drop in weekly print readership for The Times and a one per cent drop in weekly print readership for The Sunday Times.

For the figure for February 2012, the study uses NRS readership for January to December 2011, combined with ABC circulation for February 2012 and News UK's own digital data.

The April 2013 figures are made up of average NRS readership between April 12 and March 13, ABC circulation figures for April 2013 and digital data from April 2013.

The figures have been released as News UK Commercial launches One Audience, a new cross-platform advertising package that lets advertisers reach Times' audiences across multiple editions and platforms in a single booking.

Dylan Wyn-Pugh, the head of strategy, The Times and Sunday Times, said: "These figures clearly demonstrate that it's possible to combine a paid-for-content strategy with strong organic readership growth and, as such, are great news for the media industry as a whole.

"What's even more important is that, because many of the new readers are coming on board as subscribers rather than casual purchasers, we have a much closer relationship with them. This means that we can offer advertisers even more insight and understanding to help them plan targeted and effective advertising campaigns."

News Corp, News UK's parent group, announced this week that it was planning to launch a global ad exchange for advertisers wanting to buy online and mobile ads across its newspapers around the world.

Since The Times and The Sunday Times introduced their paywalls in 2010 the newspapers have commissioned independent research to demonstrate their combined reach.

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