The New York Times websiteThe New York Times site is joining the select band of publishers bucking the trend for free web news by introducing an annual fee for access to some editorial and opinion pieces.

The new $49.95 TimesSelect subscription package will include access to archive material and previews of articles in the NYT Magazine, Sunday Arts and Travel sections. Subscribers can also view content from the sister publication the International Herald Tribune.

Crosswords, news alerts and archive material is already charged for. Print subscribers will not have to pay extra.

Some other publications charge for selected content, such as quizzes and archive access, although most news websites remain completely free and rely on income from advertising rather than reader subscriptions.

"We believe we can create a robust second revenue stream while continuing to grow our core advertising business," said Martin Nisenholtz, senior vice president of digital operations for the New York Times.

"We do not see the two revenue streams as mutually exclusive, and we believe consumers will pay for Times content because it is of very high quality."

Mr Nisenholtz can take comfort from the fact that there are already a few successful precursors. The Wall Street Journal is noted for its winning paid-content strategy, which is credited to its wealthy readership and niche financial content.

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