Sadly, what I recently learned from Times columnist, Richard Susskind, is indeed the case: The Times, TimesOnline and the Sunday Times will begin charging for online access. Presented by the publisher as the advent of something new and better — “timesplus” — the wall will go up around the garden at some near but as yet unidentified time. In the meantime, you’re invited “register for our exclusive preview” and they’ll get in touch when it happens.
The economic plight of newspaper organizations has been in the news for years now, so this attempt to monetize internet access should come as no surprise. But, for what it’s worth, my own view is that it will turn out to be a bust. I believe that online readership will fall to numbers that cannot support the Times. It would be one thing if there were no other outlets for UK news on the internet; but there are many, still. So for me, at least, it’s “it was the worst of Times.” Cheerio.