NYTimes.com to start charging readers 'shortly'

The New York Times said Wednesday that it is in the "final testing phase" of its plan to charge readers for full access to the newspaper's website and will start doing so soon.

The Times Co. announced in January of last year that it would begin charging readers of NYTimes.com in early 2011, using a "metered model" that will offer users free access to a set number of articles before they will be asked to pay.

"The pay model for NYTimes.com is in the final testing phase, and we expect it will launch shortly," Times Co. president and chief executive Janet Robinson said in a statement.

Robinson, in remarks released ahead of an appearance Wednesday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, also said print advertising revenue declined in February while digital advertising revenue rose.

"The improvement in print advertising trends that we began to see in late January continued into February, and we finished the month with print advertising revenues down in the low-single digits," she said.

"Similar to January, digital advertising revenues in February were up in the mid-single digits," Robinson said.

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.

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

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