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Becoming The Times

Becoming the Times
Here's how the Times UK scaled its revenue from zero to hundreds of millions of euros.

Why the Times?

The Times is one of the most widely used media outlets in the UK, attracting more than 21 million monthly unique visitors across the globe. Over the last few decades, the publisher has outpaced some of the big players in the media industry and evolved into a full-fledged digital publishing company with laudable technological capabilities. 

Of all the other why picked the Times for our next Becoming study? Well, when we looked at the Times history, it was an easy ‘yes’ for us. 

  • The Times did a great job of converting its 21M+ web visitors and 1M+ print readership into a turnover of £326.4 million in 2019 (Src). Compared to the year 2018 where the company lost £8 million, The Times made an annual profit (after-tax) of £9.6 million in 2019.
  • The publisher lost 81% of the total traffic when it introduced a paywall. Still, it survived and as of today, The Times has more than half a million digital subscribers and 21 million monthly visitors to the site. 

Doesn’t it make you curious to know how a publisher turned its legacy print business into a successful digital media company? Especially, how the publisher increased its traffic even after putting all the content behind a paywall? We thought so. 

Let’s get started. 

How it all started?

‘The Daily Universal Register’, the print version of The Times was introduced by John Walter in 1785. After the acquisition of The Times in 1981 by Rupert Murdoch of News UK, the parent company announced the availability of resources and services of The Times online at www.thetimes.co.uk in 1999. 

The Times 1999 - 2019

Where they are today?

As of today, the Times has 20.59 million monthly visitors (Src), and the majority of the traffic comes to the site via Google (Src) whereas social media platforms account for 14.76% of the total website’s acquisition. An editorial team of 500+ published hundreds of stories every day (Src). 

The Times in 2019

Precisely, for The Times, Twitter trumps in the world of Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform. The publisher obtains 59.87% of its social traffic from Twitter followed by Facebook and Reddit.

The Times Social Media

Becoming The Times

From Times UK to TimesOnline UK

1999 – 2005

The Launch

The parent company News International introduced the ‘www’ version of The Times in March 1999 to extend its audience reach across the globe. Since The Times has been around for several decades, the foundation was already well-established. However, print and digital ecosystems are different. 

The Times in 1999

From content agility to storage to advertising and marketing, the publisher was facing the dilemma of resource allocation as it had to increase the website’s traffic as well as manage their existing print circulations. Besides, it also had to find new revenue streams for the company. So, in its early days, the publisher started to generate revenue with the strategies it had already in place.


Automatad Team

At Automatad, we help publishers to monetize better without hampering the user experience. Our products are live across hundreds of publishers, earning them incremental ad revenue with every passing second. You can request a free audit to get an estimated revenue uplift today.

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