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Rupert Murdoch's 'The Sun' to Erect Online Paywall

The Sun Newspaper
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Mike Darcey, the CEO of News Corp.'s U.K. newspaper unit News International, says its current practice of offering all content for free on the Internet is "untenable."

LONDON -- Tabloid The Sun, Britain's best-selling daily newspaper and part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., plans to erect a paywall to start charging for its online content later this year.

"Later this year, the pay model will be applied to The Sun across every platform," a representative of News Corp.'s U.K. newspaper unit News International said. "We will be offering our valued Sun readers a bigger and better experience than they have ever had before -- one that in addition to FA Premier League clips will offer a full and attractive subscription model across digital and print."

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Under a new deal that News International recently struck with English Premier League soccer, the company gets the rights to show match highlight clips online.

The Guardian quoted Mike Darcey, the CEO of News International, as saying that the tabloid's current offer of free content on the Internet was "untenable." http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/mar/26/the-sun-the-telegraph-online...

The second half of the year "is a fairly safe bet" for the launch of the paywall, he told the Guardian. That would also coincide with the planned separation of News Corp.'s entertainment and publishing businesses.

Financial and other details of the planned Sun paywall weren't immediately available.

The paper's website attracts about 30 million readers per month, compared to a daily print circulation of 2.4 million, it said.

The Sun will join News Corp.'s Wall Street Journal and London Times, as well as the Financial Times and the New York Times in taking a paywall approach.

The news of the planned Sun paywall comes just after Britain's Daily Telegraph said that it would start charging some U.K. readers for access to its website. It will allow people free access to 20 online articles per month. After that, readers will be charged $3 (£1.99) per month. In November, the Telegraph had started a paywall for its international website.

Murdoch has, in the past, said that more newspapers would have to start charging online readers to survive in the digital age amid declines in print readership.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai