The sites have been trialling free access for registered users since their launch on 25 May, but from tomorrow will charge readers who go beyond their homepages.
Readers will be able to pay £1 for a day's access or £2 for a week. Online access will be included in seven-day print subscriptions and for the first month all readers who have registered with the sites will be given a 30-day pass for a one-off fee of £1.
iPad editions will continue to be charged separately, says the release from News International. The Times' iPad edition currently costs £9.99 for a 28-day subscription.
A survey released by YouGov yesterday suggests that only two per cent of UK adults are willing to pay for online news, with a further four per cent prepared to pay if it's original material. A recent survey by paidContent:UK and Harris Interactive suggests that 76 per cent of readers of Times Online, the Times' old, free-to-view, website, were "not at all likely to pay" for the new paywalled site.
Figures released last week by intelligence service Hitwise suggest that traffic to the new Times website had halved when compared with average traffic for May, when it was still operating as Times Online. The title's market share of UK internet visits was down to 1.81 per cent since the closure of Times Online on 16 June, Hitwise said last week.
At Journalism.co.uk's news:rewired event on Friday, the Times' assistant editor for online Tom Whitwell joked about the spate of surveys on readers' attitudes to paywalls, adding that the publisher was fully aware it would lose readers with the move. In a debate for BBC Radio 4 in May, Sunday Times editor John Witherow said the two titles could easily lose 90 per cent of their audience when the paywall comes into force.