By Jason Theodorou

Visitors to the website of The Times newspaper have fallen to one third, after Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. decided to ask users to pay for access to online content. Statistics from Experian Hitwise, which monitors internet traffic, says that the Murdoch owned 'The Times' and 'The Sunday Times' have held on to 34% of their readership since the paywall came into pay.

Under half of the site's readership registered for the news websites in June, and over 80% of those who registered have been happy to pay for access. The 'Times' properties are among the first major newspapers in the UK to attempt to charge for online access to content, with Murdoch hoping to retain a small but consistent readership who were willing to pay for access.

Murdoch announced 'The Times' and 'The Sunday Times' paywall last year. Users are given an introductory charge of £1 for 30 days, but this will be increased to £1 for one day's access or £2 for a week's access. Murdoch already charges for online access to the Wall Street Journal.

Robin Goad, research director at Experian Hitwise, said: 'The big drop-off was during the registration period... but since the site has gone to fully paid, there hasn't been much more of a fall'. The site lost 58% of its visitors five weeks in advance of the paywall's institution, with only a slow drop in numbers since it was installed.

The New York Times plans to institute a paywall next year.

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