November 30, 2010 / 5:36 PM / in 7 years

UK's Telegraph newspaper says no paywall decision

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Telegraph newspaper said it had made no decision on whether to charge for reading its news online, after a Financial Times report said it was drawing up plans to put up a so-called paywall next year.

“Absolutely no decisions have been made on the introduction of a paid-content model,” the privately held Telegraph Media Group said in an emailed statement. “Like all publishers, TMG continually evaluates the developments in the digital sector.”

The Financial Times cited a person familiar with the Telegraph’s strategy as saying that a final decision had not been made but that it might impose a metered system, charging according to the level of use, or use micropayments for one-time access.

The Telegraph is Britain’s best-selling broadsheet newspaper with a daily circulation of about 660,000.

News International, the British newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, has put up a paywall around its Times of London, Sunday Times and News of the World sites, making them the first mass-market titles to do so.

The Times has lost up to 90 percent of its online audience since the move, it said this month, but it believes active subscribers are very much more valuable than readers browsing the site for free.

Pearson’s Financial Times, which charges for access over a small free amount, told the Reuters Global Media Summit on Monday it could sell advertising targeted at subscribers for 10 times as much as other digital ads.

The New York Times, whose chairman and chief executive are due to speak to the summit later on Tuesday, plans to introduce some charges for online access next year.

Reporting by Georgina Prodhan. Editing by Jane Merriman

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