The Times unveils new site ahead of paywall


The Times and The Sunday Times are giving you a chance to see their redesigns for free before a paywall, blocking the site from users who refuse to splash the cash for news, goes up in just four weeks.

After that, only the front page will be viewable for free and a charge of 1 per day, or 2 per week, will have to be paid before any further pages can be visited and articles read. Subscribers to the paper versions will be able to access the site for free.

The move has come after months of debate between the owner of the papers Rupert Murdoch head of News International, which also owns The Sun, News of the World and the Wall Street Journal and search engine Google.

Murdoch believes the likes of Google are depriving newspapers of much needed revenue in times of recession by allowing people to view content for free and, as such, has made Google remove Times news articles, and even headlines, from its news site from the paywall launch date.

During a speech at University College London last week, Murdoch said: "Many voices predict [journalism's] demise as it goes through a transition from being a medium that is predominantly physical to one that is predominantly digital."

"It is in this context of real consequence that The Times and The Sunday Times will soon become among the first papers in the world to assert a fair value for their online editions."

Google claimed it provides a service of promoting news organisations and had a valuable role to play. Even News International admitted on BBC Radio 4's Today programme it expected to lose 90 per cent of its visitors by making this move.

But it is not the first newspaper website to make people pay for content.

The Financial Times already has a registration process whereby visitors can either join for free with a limit on how many pages they can view a month or pay a subscription for unlimited page views.

The New York Times has also committed to launching a paywall later this year.

However, a new report this week from comScore has shown unique visitors to news websites in the top 25 markets have risen 10 per cent from March to April reaching 83.7 million.

In the top 10 markets, including the US, this has risen by 13 per cent in the same period to 70.8 million.

This shows the current model has very strong growth potential but also raises concerns as to whether the positivity will continue when the paywalls make their mark.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.