Murdoch to start charging for Times, Sunday Times online

News International, which owns the Times and the Sunday Times, will start charging to access its web sites from June, it said today.

The Times will cost £1 per day,  or £2 for a week’s subscription, News International said.

Rupert Murdoch has been making noises for some time about charging for his online content – a newspaper now in his stable, the Wall Street Journal, has charged for online content since its inception.

The Times Online site, which currently hosts both the Times and the Sunday Times, will be split into two separate sites, and a redesign will be introduced in early May, for a trial period.

If you take up the subscription, you’ll gain access to both of these sites when the online payment scheme goes live in June.

Editor of the Times, James Harding, interviewed on BBC TV this morning, said that he believed the content of his newspaper was better than other UK dailies and people would be willing to pay a premium rather than go to other news sites that will remain free.

That remains to be seen. A subscription to the Wall Street Journal gives access to current and historical financial data, including Dow Jones information, as well as providing solid news coverage.

Given the choice between paying £1 to view the Times online, or sauntering down to the newsagent to pay a £1 for the paper version,  many will take the time to go out of their front doors and into the real world.

Murdoch is believed to be contemplating introducing similar pay schemes across many of the newspapers in his extensive press empire.