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December 4, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 8:41am

Telegraph marks ‘huge milestone’ as number of digital subscribers surpasses print

By Charlotte Tobitt

The Telegraph now has more paying subscribers online than in print for the first time in its 164-year history.

The newspaper revealed today it has passed the milestone as it reached 420,000 paying subscribers.

A Telegraph spokesperson told Press Gazette digital subscriptions are currently growing at their “fastest rate ever; double what it was last year”.

Telegraph chief executive Nick Hugh tweeted: “Today [the] Telegraph has achieved 420,000 subscribers with the majority of those coming from digital.

“A huge milestone in our evolution and I couldn’t be prouder of everyone in the company.”

He told Bloomberg last week the Telegraph was in a “great position” after digital subscriptions grew by about 81,000 in a year.

“To be able to grow at that rate should give great comfort to the market that actually we will very soon be able to demonstrate a very clear sustainable path to ongoing growth,” he said.

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The milestone indicates a continued boost in digital subscription revenue, which grew by 27 per cent in 2018. Offsetting print declines, this led to a total subscription revenue rise of ten per cent.

In October the Telegraph said it had 5m registered users, of which 400,000 were paying subscribers across print and digital.

Hugh is confident the title can add a further 100,000 paying subscribers by October next year.

In 2018 the company set a target of reaching 10m registered users and 1m paid subscribers by 2023.

The Telegraph website has had a premium subscription model since 2016, leaving some online stories available for free but putting most of its content out of reach to non-subscribers.

Registered users sign up with an email in exchange for free access to one premium article a week, however the title has faced criticism that it does not vet emails to ensure they are genuine.

A digital subscription costs £2 per week, or £3 including a digital copy of the newspaper. A seven-day print subscription costs £11.50.

Since May 2018 the Telegraph has also offered a digital subscription for just its sports content at £1 per week.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Hugh also addressed ongoing speculation over a potential sale of the Telegraph by its owners.

He said the Barclay brothers, who bought the newspaper in 2004 for £665m, are “incredibly supportive of how we transform to a model that’s sustainable into the future, and they recognize that that’s required investment”.

No sale process for the Telegraph itself has begun and no advisers have been hired, Hugh said.

Telegraph Media Group’s pre-tax profits fell by 88 per cent to £1.6m last year, while its revenues were down 2.6 per cent to £278.1m.

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