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British Times papers to charge for Web content

The Times is a daily national newspaper published in the United Kingdom since 1785.
The Times and The Sunday Times of London, both owned by News Corp., plan to replace their combined Times Online site and charge readers for new, separate sites in June.

Company says that it has put its much-anticipated new plane through more than 50 stall tests and expects to do dozens more. So far, so good.

The two papers have been offering their content in a combined news Web site called Times Online. Under the new plan, however, News International would introduce new, separate sites for each publication in May, according to several news accounts citing a company statement.

The sites will reportedly be offered for 1 pound ($1.48) for a day’s access, or 2 pounds ($2.96) for a week’s subscription. Those fees will cover access to both sites, which will be available for free during a trial period.

As newspapers struggle to stay alive amid declining print circulations and weak advertising revenues–only made worse by recessionary times–there’s been much talk about charging users for online stories.

“At a defining moment for journalism, this is a crucial step towards making the business of news an economically exciting proposition,” News International CEO Rebekah Brooks said in a broadly reported statement. She added that “This is just the start,” but did not offer up details on plans for the company’s two other U.K. publications.

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