On 26 March the Telegraph Media Group announced that it was making its telegraph.co.uk website a subscription service.
In an email to its registered users the following day, it told them that they would continue to have access to up to 20 articles per calendar month without having to subscribe. Attempts to read any articles in excess of that number would prompt an invitation to subscribe – either to the Web Pack (unlimited access to the website, plus iPhone/Android apps, cost £1.99/month or £20/year) or to the Digital Pack (unlimited access to website, smartphone apps and tablet editions for iPad/Windows, plus membership of the Telegraph’s subscriber clubs, cost £9.99/month or £99/year). Both options are preceded by a free 30-day trial period.
The move extends to UK readers a subscription model that’s already been in place for international users since November 2012, apparently with good results – 90% of people who’ve taken the trial period have subsequently subscribed.
It also makes The Daily Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph the first mainstream national newspapers in the UK to adopt the metered paywall model. The Financial Times has used a metered paywall for many years, but has a business focus; The Times and The Sunday Times have a full paywall in place.
On the evening of the announcement, News International chief executive Mike Darcey announced that The Sun was likely to be introducing its own paywall in the second half of 2013.