The Times and Sunday Times newspapers will start charging to access their websites in June, owner News International (NI) has announced.
Both titles will launch new websites in early May, separating their digital presence for the first time and replacing... Times Online. The two new sites will be available for a free trial period to registered customers. And payment will give customers access to both sites.
Users will pay £1 for a day's access and £2 for a week's subscription.
According to my online conversion service that's US$1.48 per day. Over a year that's £104 / USD$154.80.
"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. We will continue to develop our digital products and to invest and innovate for our customers."
So, the game is afoot!
Not sure that I see the value in charging a daily fee to access a Sunday newspaper, so I can understand the logic of combining access to both with the single fee. No indication as to how they intend to charge for this. Will online readers have to go through an order process daily, or weekly? That would be rather cumbersome. Or, for weekly subscribers, will there be an automatic standing charge?
Obviously the idea here is to encourage readers to subscribe weekly, it offers much greater value. If payment is made by a standing charge, then subscribers will soon forget that they are paying and carry on regardless. But, will there be a sufficient number of subscribers?
They talk about rolling this model out to two other newspapers. I wonder with great curiosity if that will include their red top The Sun! Can't see all those builders, painters and lads with white vans, who traditionally ogle the bare-chested ladies of Page 3 over a fried breakfast and during tea breaks, queueing up to pay to do the same online!