PayPal has felt need to press-release the fact that News International’s The Times and Sunday Times websites will allow users to pay for access using PayPal.
Previously, would-be subscribers could only use their debit or credit cards directly. Now Times Newspapers is also plugging in PayPal’s PayPal For Digital Goods service, which it is aiming at media and other retailers of content and non-physical purchases.
PayPal says 14 million people in the UK have active accounts. On the one hand, this could conceivably boost Times subscriptions – but only if you believe it’s the payment method, rather than the inclination to pay at all, which is holding back sign-ups.
The Times had 79,000 digital subscribers the last time it disclosed this spring, since implementing charging during summer 2010.
This is likely one of PayPal’s biggest signatures to date for PayPal For Digital Goods. Last year, The Financial Times said it would trial PayPal payments – but there is no such mechanism evident on FT.com at present.
There is currently a veritable arms race going on, as vendors compete for publishers’ affections and to be the mechanism they pick to facilitate paid content. Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is working closely with publishers in this area around its OnePass system.