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Telegraph looks into online charges

Telegraph Media Group, publisher of The Daily Telegraph, is understood to be looking at the introduction of a payment system that would charge users for frequent access to its website.

The plan, inspired by a strategy already used by the Financial Times, stops short of the paywall system operated by Rupert Murdoch's News International, which charges for any access to the websites of The Times, The Sunday Times and the News of the World.

If TMG goes ahead with a metered system – where payment is demanded from users who wish to access more than a limited number of articles – it will signal a further shift within the industry towards the notion that charging for digital content is necessary to offset the decline in revenue from print sales.

The British newspaper industry is split into two camps with the publishers of The Daily Mail, The Independent, The Guardian and The Daily Mirror sticking to the philosophy that internet access should be free. The Telegraph – which has a web audience of 31 million – denies it has changed tactics, saying no decision has been made.