'News of the World' to start charging readers for online access
Published 18/09/2010 | 05:00
NEWS International has confirmed that Sunday tabloid 'News of the World' will start charging for access to its website next month.
From the start of October, the paper will charge £1 (€1.19) for a day's access and £1.99 for four weeks'.
The paper becomes the third of News International's UK titles to go behind a paywall, following the 'London Times' and the 'Sunday Times'.
Like those papers, the move will see a redesigned website with a "modern, innovative design, making much more of the 'News of the World's' exclusive video and pictures".
The decision by the Rupert Mudoch-owned group to charge for access means that only 'The Sun' remains free to access and that is expected to start charging in the near future.
The performance of the 'News of the World' is being seen as an acid test for the concept of paywalls, as it will be the first "red-top" to try to charge for access. Up to now, paywalls have been largely been confined to broadsheets with a more affluent readership.
So far, the 'Times' and the 'Sunday Times' have seen readers leave to access free news elsewhere, with advertisers following suit.
"I can go to the 'Guardian' or CNN and get an audience," said Chris Bailes, digital trading manager at Starcom MediaVest, a media buyer owned by Publicis Groupe. "No one is indispensable."
News International hasn't told media buyers its online figures, Mr Bailes said. "We wouldn't put our money where we don't know the numbers, just as you wouldn't invest in a stock."