NY Times unveils digital subscription plan

The New York Times on Thursday unveiled its long-awaited plan to begin charging for full access to its website, offering 20 free articles a month before readers will be asked to pay.

Times publisher Arther Sulzberger announced the newspaper's move to a digital subscription model in a letter to readers published at NYTimes.com.

Sulzberger said digital subscriptions will begin on Thursday in Canada to "fine-tune the customer experience" and will be extended to the United States and the rest of the world on March 28.

He said home delivery subscribers to the print edition of the Times and the International Herald Tribune, a Paris-based Times co. newspaper, will have full and free access to NYTimes.com.

Non-subscribers can view 20 articles a month for free before being asked to become a digital subscriber.

The Times is offering three digital subscription packages.

Full access to NYTimes.com and the newspaper's smartphone application will cost $15 for four weeks while full access to the website and a tablet computer application will cost $20 for four weeks.

Full access to NYTimes.com and both smartphone and tablet applications is $35 for four weeks.

Sulzberger said the move is a "significant transition" for the Times and "one that will strengthen our ability to provide high-quality journalism to readers around the world and on any platform."

Like other US newspapers, The New York Times has been struggling with declining print advertising revenue, falling circulation and the migration of readers to free news online.

The News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal is currently the only major US newspaper charging readers for full access to its website and other US publishers have been waiting for the Times to unveil its online plan.

Besides The New York Times and International Herald Tribune, the Times Co. also owns The Boston Globe and a dozen other dailies.

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