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Will the online charging strategy of The Times newspaper be replicated?

Last week's announcement that News International will charge users for access to The Times and Sunday Times websites is a move which many had expected and indeed many are surprised it has taken so long. However, while there is speculation regarding other companies looking to introduce charges to their websites, will this strategy be replicated across the board?

There is no doubt that traditional media advertising methods such as newspapers, etc have been overtaken and in many ways swamped by the Internet. This is taking away a significant chunk of income traditionally brought in by newspapers and other similar publications. As a consequence, the first company to find an acceptable charging structure for the Internet has the potential to make millions upon millions of pounds before the rest follow suit.

Whether this is News International, with its announcement regarding the Sunday Times and The Times newspaper, remains to be seen, but it is highly likely that the days of free access to information on the Internet will come under more and more threat. However, it also seems as likely that information, which may well be costly to the end user, will at some point be copied and illegally distributed over the Internet thereby reducing potential income for companies using a charging structure.

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