New York Times top story
The New York Times today unveiled its long awaited paywall plans, confirming it will offer a monthly reading limit of 20 articles online before users must sign up for digital subscriptions.

The paywall has been launched today in Canada and will come into force in the US and the rest of the world on 28 March, according to a release from the newspaper.

The monthly allowance of 20 articles will include slideshows, videos and other forms of content, the release adds, while the Top News section of the Times' smartphone and tablet applications will remain free. The homepage of the site and all section fronts will also remain free to browse at all times.

Allowances have been made for readers who come to Times articles through links from search engines, social media, and blogs, who will be able to access those individual articles for free even if they have reached their reading limit. The release adds that some search engines will have a daily limit of free links, which a spokesperson confirmed would apply through Google with a limit of five links.

Speaking at the World Editors Forum last year, the New York Times Company president and CEO Janet Robinson said that by employing a "first click free" strategy like that offered by Google, the site will remain part of the "open web ecosystem".

A "basic package" for subscribers, which is available to users in Canada from today, offers access to content on and the smartphone app at a cost of $15 for four weeks.

Once the plans are launched globally, three packages will be on offer in total, including an additional $20 package for full access to the site and tablet app or a $35 package for access to the site and both the tablet and smartphone apps. According to a release, introductory offers will also be available.

Home delivery newspaper subscribers of the New York Times will receive free unlimited access to the site and full content on all apps, while print subscribers of the International Herald Tribune will have unlimited access to the site.

The New York Times added that it will also adhere to Apple’s new subscription rules by offering a one-click purchase available from within the App Store by 30 June.

"As the market for and delivery of digital content evolves, we believe that supplementing advertising revenue with digital subscription revenue makes tremendous sense," Janet Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the New York Times Company, said in a release.

"The step we are taking today will further improve our ability to provide high-quality journalism to readers across the world on any platform, while maintaining the large and growing audience that supports our robust advertising business."

Image of New York Times offices by Joe Shlabotnik on Flickr. Some rights reserved

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