In Depth

Sun and Telegraph to put up paywalls for online content

Free online journalism is 'untenable' say newspapers as they plan to charge web readers

sun-telegraph.jpg

THE SUN and the Daily Telegraph have both decided to charge people to read their journalism online, claiming that publishing free content is "untenable".

The online version of The Sun, which is read by about 30 million people each month, will move behind a paywall in the second half of the year, The Guardian reports.

Readers of the Daily Telegraph will encounter a "metered paywall" system from today that allows them to access 20 articles for free each month. After that limit is reached, they will be offered two paid subscription options. The first package gives access to the website and smartphone apps for £1.99 a month, or £20 a year, while the second provides the same but adding the tablet editions of the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph for £9.99 a month, or £99 a year.

The introduction of the paywall comes after the news that the Telegraph Media Group is to cut 80 editorial jobs and create 50 new digital ones as part of a major restructuring to pursue a digital-first strategy, reports MediaWeek. Tech Radar says the Daily Telegraph's approach is "likely to be enough to perturb keen Telegraph readers from taking the cost-free option".

The metered paywall model is favoured by many US newspapers – notably the New York Times – as well as publications in Canada. In Britain it is used by the Financial Times. Telegraph Media Group said it had been encouraged by the reaction of readers after it erected a metered paywall around the international version of its website in November 2012. "Nine out of 10" people took out a subscription after signing up for a free trial, it said.

Mike Darcey, chief executive of News International, which publishes The Sun, said it was simply "untenable" to allow readers to continue to access content for free. He said "the second half of 2013" was a "fairly safe bet" for the introduction of a paywall, which would coincide with the launch of the company's new Premier League deal, allowing it to show clips of goals and match highlights .

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