Making good on the proclamations of News Corporation CEO Rupert Mudoch that the company would charge people to access the content of its British newspapers online, The Times and The Sunday Times, currently the UK’s largest circulation newspaper, are putting up pay walls, effective Friday.
The new sites (thetimes.co.uk and thesundaytimes.co.uk) will be available for a charge of one pound ($1.50) for a day’s access or two pounds ($3.00) for a week’s subscription. “As an introductory offer, all customers that register for the sites will get access to both sites for a one-off charge of one for the first 30 days,” News Corporation announced Thursday. Access to the sites will be included in the seven-day subscriptions of print customers to The Times and The Sunday Times. iPad editions will continue to be charged separately.
The launch of the paid offer follows a month’s free trial period for registered customers after the launch of the new sites on May 25th.
“We have been very pleased with the response from readers since the launch of the new websites for The Times and The Sunday Times in May. The new sites showcase our award-winning journalism in a very visual way, giving readers exclusive content and interactivity so that they can get even more from the news. We believe the new sites offer real value and we look forward to continuing to invest and innovate for readers,” said Rebekah Brooks, Chief Executive, News International, the News Corporation subsidiary which owns the newspapers. It also owns The Sun and News of the World, but the websites of the tabloids are not included in the new pay scheme.
The Times claims 1.8 million readers and more under-45 readers than any other title in the UK quality segment (NRS Jul-Dec 2009). The paper also claims “more business readers than both the Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph combined.”
The Sunday Times is the largest circulation “quality newspaper” in the UK and has 3.2 million readers (NRS Jul-Dec 2009). Interestingly, the #1 overall is the co-owned tabloid News of the World.
RBR-TVBR observation: As noted before, The Guardian is standing by ready to happily take any and all of the market share that Murdoch is throwing away and there’s no indication that The Telegraph has any plans to erect a pay wall either. How long will The Sunday Times continue to be UK’s biggest “quality newspaper” after this horrendous blunder?