News of the World Website Drops Paid Content

In a complete turnaround, tabloid News of the World has taken down its website paywall, opening its content to users for free.

Owner News International (NI) introduced a stringent paywall on the site last October. This necessitated readers having to register as subscribers and paying a fee to access content beyond the News of the World homepage.

The site experienced a major drop in audience since the company introduced paid content - according to ComScore figures, in July last year News of the World received 1.1 million unique visitors viewing 14 million pages for an average of 8.1 minutes a visit. Since the introduction of the paywall, their readership dropped by more than half.

A NI spokesperson has said that while the firm has not yet decided how to reimburse the News of the World digital subscribers, "changes" to their digital suite of products are under review, with significant changes planned.

Even before the hacking allegations which emerged recently, another NI source said that News of the World had begun to look at ways to open up its paywall and make it as "flexible" and as "frictionless" as possible. The range of alternative options they are considering include Facebook Credits, Paypal and social media interaction.

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