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US newspaper chain to charge for online access


New York : Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the US, at the end of the year will begin charging for access to online editions of its papers.

The measure will not include the group’s national daily, USA Today.

Gannett spokesperson Laura Dalton told EFE Thursday that the firm had not yet determined how much the charge will be.

With the new plan in place, Gannett expects to earn an additional $100 million per year starting in 2013 as well as to improve ad revenues at its 80 newspapers.

Readers will have at their disposal a variety of subscription methods that will include unlimited access to digital content through computers and mobile devices.

The group said that access to other products it offers such as the secondhand vehicle web site, Cars.com, or employment site CareerBuilder.com will continue to be provided free of charge.

Gannett, based in McLean, Virginia, said that readers who do not want to subscribe to any of the payment plans will have free access to a specific number of articles.

The publisher is following in the steps of other media such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, which are now charging their readers for access to their online editions.

Gannett last year earned $458.7 million, or $1.89 per share, down 22 percent from 2010.

Sales at the close of 2011 totaled $5.14 billion, 3.7 percent less than the $5.44 billion the firm took in during 2010.

Gannett shares Thursday closed down 1.22 percent on the New York Stock Exchange, where they have experienced a price drop of 4.99 percent over the past 12 months.