LONDON, March 27 Rupert Murdoch's British
tabloid The Sun will start charging for access to its website in
a package with highlights of Premier League soccer matches,
publisher News International (NI) said on Wednesday.
"Later this year the pay model will be applied to The Sun
across every platform," said a spokesman for NI, the British
newspaper arm of News Corp.
"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."
The Sun, the country's top-selling newspaper with a print
circulation of 2.28 million in February according to ABC, is the
only one of Murdoch's British titles to have content freely
available online, although it does have a paid-for app.
The Times and The Sunday Times have been behind a paywall
Newspaper groups are looking at ways to drive revenue from
online publishing to help counter falling print circulations and
tough advertising markets.
The Daily Telegraph, the country's top-selling daily
broadsheet title, said on Tuesday it would start charging for
its Internet edition using a metered model, which gives readers
a numbers of articles for free.
The Sun, however, will be the first popular tabloid to
charge for online access, and NI is hoping that offering soccer
clips will encourage subscriptions.
Chief Executive Mike Darcey told reporters on Tuesday
evening that charging for The Sun online would "iron out any
inconsistencies" across the group's titles.
"And those sorts of Premier League rights can really start
to kick start that transition," he said at an event at NI's
NI bought the rights to show online clips of action from
English Premier League soccer games from the 2013-2014 season in
Darcey did not specify pricing or a date for the change,
beyond saying it would happen in the second half of the year,
coinciding with the start of the soccer season in August.