The Sun puts up online paywall

By Time of article published Mar 28, 2013

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Sapa-AFP London

Britain’s top-selling newspaper, The Sun, owned by Rupert Murdoch, would start charging readers for access to its website, a spokeswoman confirmed yesterday.

The announcement comes a day after another British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, extended its international paywall to include domestic readers in an attempt to boost falling revenue in the internet age.

Known for its celebrity scoops and topless “page three” models, The Sun would probably introduce its paywall in the second half of this year, the chief executive of Murdoch’s British newspaper wing, News International, Mike Darcey, saidon Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the Sun said the website would offer “a full and attractive subscription model across digital and print”.

“We will be offering our valued Sun readers a bigger and better experience than they have ever had before,” she added.

Darcey told the Guardian newspaper on Tuesday that the paywall was “unavoidable” as the free availability of Sun stories online was threatening the newspaper’s print circulation and revenues. “This decision comes from a deep-seated belief that it is just untenable to have 2.4 million paying 40p (R5.62) for The Sun at the same time as a bunch of other people are getting it for free.”

The Sun paywall comes just months after it sealed a £20 million deal to buy the mobile and online rights to show English Premier League football goals and match highlights. Details of how the paywall will work – such as whether the Sun will allow readers free access to a certain number of stories a month before charging, as the Telegraph plans to do – have not yet been revealed.

The Sun had a circulation of 2.3 million last month, according to data released this month by Britain’s press monitor, the Audit Bureau of Circulations, representing an 11.6 percent drop compared with a year earlier. Britain’s Times and Sunday Times broadsheets, also owned by Murdoch, went behind a strict paywall in 2010.

The online readership for the two titles has fallen far behind that of its rivals since the paywall came into force.

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