Times Online: fee for crossword
News International has already made a decision on a problem currently causing angst for other newspaper groups with online websites – to charge or not to charge for some of their online services.
While the basic service remains free, the-times.co.uk has announced that Times Online is to charge £10 per annum for its crossword and The Sun Online and Page3.com are already charging for competitions and videos.
The recent downturn in advertising, even more pronounced on the web than in print, has been the catalyst for heated discussions on whether newspaper companies should charge for at least some of the content on their websites. The unanswered question is: "Will it turn off people from using the site?"
Pete Picton, editor of The Sun Online, said the site charges 60p a minute for some competitions which last between one and three minutes. Page3.com charges 60p a minute for a maximum of five minutes for videos of interviews with page-three girls.
The Fantasy Football Team online costs £5 and The Sun Online is looking for three ways to collect the cash – by credit card, premium phone line or by cards issued to newsagents.
Several other newspapers have been thinking of charging for their crosswords and for other popular services.