The Times and Sunday Times, two British papers owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. media empire, said Tuesday that 105,000 people have paid for access to their websites since a paywall was set up four months ago.
In its first report on the success of the initiative, News International _ a unit of News Corp. _ said another 100,000 people signed up for a joint subscription to the printed edition and the web.
The Times' editor James Harding said in an interview with the BBC that he was "hugely encouraged."
The Times' experience with charging for news content is being followed closely in the media industry, where much content is offered for free in hopes of attracting viewers for Web advertising. Exceptions include The Times and the Wall Street Journal, both owned by News Corp., and the Financial Times, owned by Pearson PLC.
News International said that about half of the 105,000 users signed up for the 2 pounds ($3.20) per week subscription or the 9.95 pounds a month version for the iPad or Amazon's Kindle. The web version of the paper is also accessible for 1 pound a day, or through a 1 pound, 30-day trial subscription.
"In the few months since we launched these new products, the total paid circulation of The Times has grown," said James Murdoch, chairman and chief executive for Europe and Asia for News Corp. He is the son of News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch.
"It is early days but renewal rates are encouraging and each of our digital subscribers is more engaged and more valuable to us than very many unique users of the previous (free) model," Murdoch said.
News International did not disclose revenue figures.