30th June 2021
The future of The Times and The Sunday Times will increasingly be in growing our digital business, and today we are announcing new and exciting digital changes, writes John Witherow, Editor, The Times.
Our print business has proved to be resilient during the pandemic, we are still Britain’s most popular quality newspaper and we have gained market share. But as people’s habits and lifestyles continue to change, print sales will decline.
Fortunately, The Times has one of the healthiest digital business models in media. We were the pioneers of subscriber journalism when we put in place the paywall in 2010. In 2018 we announced a milestone; we had more digital subscribers than print for the first time. Since then we have continued to grow our digital subscriber base by more than 10% year-on-year. Today, we have 375,000 digital-only subscribers, double the amount of print only.
Times Radio has done a great job of attracting new, younger audiences to our journalism. But in order to achieve our full potential, attracting a wider base of subscribers, we must raise our digital game by several more levels.
We plan to change the way we commission content to create highly-distinctive digital journalism, and we want to do this in three ways:
- We want our outstanding written journalism to be amplified by visual storytelling, with smarter use of graphics, photography and video.
- We want to embrace more live, breaking stories that are essential to our readers.
- We want to increase both the reach of our journalism and the level of engagement. This means being more thoughtful about how we use Google search and social media to introduce the Times to new audiences.
Starting this week, we are introducing a new commissioning structure for The Times, overseen by Tony Gallagher and Jeremy Griffin, with the following changes:
We are building a digital hub desk to bring together the key editors and digital experts including graphics, pictures, video, SEO, social media, digital production and a new role of planning editor. There will be a new rota from next week to ensure we have the right people available at the right time.
In order to ensure that we maintain standards in print, there will be a separate print desk with Dan Parkinson moving into a new role of assistant editor, print.
The current morning and afternoon news conferences will be replaced with a series of shorter digital meetings at 8am, 10:30am and 3pm. There will be a print-only news conference at 5pm.
To accelerate the next stage of our digital evolution, we are also looking to bring new skills into the newsroom, We will be hiring more than a dozen digital experts including a senior editor to oversee data and digital graphics, a newsletters and podcasting editor, and a deputy head of digital, working alongside our new head of digital, Edward Roussel. All job descriptions can be found on the News careers site here.