News International, News Corp's British newspaper unit said today it will begin charging readers for access to the websites of The Times and Sunday Times of London starting in June.
Both titles will launch new websites in early May, separating their online presence for the first time and replacing the existing, combined site, Times Online. The two new sites will be available for a free trial period to registered customers.
Beginning in June, the new sites, www.thetimes.co.uk and www.thesundaytimes.co.uk, will be available for 1, or $1.48, for a day's access or 2 for a week's subscription. Payment will give customers access to both sites. The weekly subscription will also give access to the e-paper and certain new applications. Access to the online sites will be included in the seven-day subscriptions of print customers to The Times and The Sunday Times.
"At a defining moment for journalism, this is a crucial step towards making the business of news an economically exciting proposition," said Rebekah Brooks, Chief Executive, News International. "We are proud of our journalism and unashamed to say that we believe it has value."
"This is just the start. The Times and The Sunday Times are the first of our four titles in the UK to move to this new approach."
The Sunday Times had an average print circulation of 1.2 million copies from September to January, down 3.8 percent from the previous year, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.