Murdoch's Sun newspaper goes behind paywall

August 1, 2013
Britain's top-selling newspaper The Sun, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch began charging readers for access to its website.

Britain's top-selling newspaper The Sun, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, on Thursday began charging readers for access to its website.

Known for its celebrity scoops and topless "page three" models, the tabloid will charge subscribers £2 ($3, 2.30 euros) for a week's access to its website, which will be called Sun+.

Murdoch's British publisher announced the paywall in March, saying to The Sun's online content had become "untenable".

"Asking readers to pay for content is the only way to protect the future of the newspaper industry," said the Sun's new editor David Dinsmore.

"This is a landmark event for The Sun and a testament to the pioneering attitude of Britain's best-selling newspaper."

A slew of the world's top newspapers have started charging for online content in recent years, including The New York Times and the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal.

The Australian-born media tycoon, 82, placed his British broadsheet The Times behind a paywall in 2010.

The Sun sold around 2.24 million copies a day in June, a Sun spokeswoman told AFP—compared to 3.12 million copies four years ago.

"Like the other newspapers, there has been a decline in in the past years," the spokeswoman said.

The Sun's website, Sun+, currently attracts around 32 million unique users per month, she added.

Sun+ will attempt to attract subscribers with "near-live" of English Premier League football goals as well as discounts and promotions.

While The Times' print subscribers get automatic access to its website, The Sun's print subscribers will need to collect 20 codes from their papers in order to access online content for the next month, in a process the spokeswoman admitted was "quite tricky".

Putting The Sun's behind a paywall is a big gamble for Murdoch, who saw traffic to The Times' site drop off heavily after it began charging for access to online content.

Mike Darcey, CEO of Murdoch's renamed British newspaper wing News UK, insisted last month that the paywall was "working" and that The Times' income from subscriptions was higher than it was in 2010.

"Initially thought of as a crazy move, it has been successful and is now flattered by widespread imitation," he told a conference.

A spokeswoman for The Times and its sister newspaper, The Sunday Times, said the two websites currently have some 274,000 subscribers.

The Times' parent company Times Newspapers Limited reported pre-tax losses of £28.7 million ($43.6 million, 32.9 million euros) in the year to June 2012.

Explore further: UK Murdoch newspapers unveil pay-for websites

Related Stories

Murdoch introduces paywall for The Australian

June 7, 2011

Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd said Tuesday it would start charging for online access to national broadsheet The Australian from October, although some content will remain free.

Murdoch's Sun tabloid to go behind paywall

March 27, 2013

Britain's top-selling newspaper The Sun, owned by Rupert Murdoch, is to start charging readers for access to its website, a spokeswoman confirmed on Wednesday.

Germany's top-selling tabloid to introduce paywall

May 27, 2013

Europe's top-selling newspaper said Monday it will introduce a paywall for part of its online offerings starting next month. Main news stories will remain free of charge online, but a subscription will be required to view ...

Recommended for you

Interactive tool lifts veil on the cost of nuclear energy

August 24, 2015

Despite the ever-changing landscape of energy economics, subject to the influence of new technologies and geopolitics, a new tool promises to root discussions about the cost of nuclear energy in hard evidence rather than ...

Smart home heating and cooling

August 28, 2015

Smart temperature-control devices—such as thermostats that learn and adjust to pre-programmed temperatures—are poised to increase comfort and save energy in homes.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.