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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 July, 2003, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Guardian to begin online charges
Guardian Unlimited webpage
The Guardian wants more income from its online activities

The Guardian newspaper is launching its first paid-for service online, joining other news groups that are beginning to charge for web content.

The group said its main 'Guardian Unlimited' network of websites would remain free of charge.

But it now plans to charge for an advertising-free version of its site and a new digital edition of the newspaper.

The Wrap - a daily summary of all newspapers, and The Informer - a preview of the following day's paper, will be launched on 30 July.

"The realities of web publishing mean that we also have to seek opportunities to maximise our revenues," said Emily Bell, the editor-in-chief of Guardian Unlimited.

Healthy income

A digital version of the newspaper will provide exactly the same content as the traditional 'hard' copy, including the group's Sunday Observer paper.

It is not a decision we have taken lightly
Emily Bell, Guardian Unlimited

Ms Bell said the newspaper group was "absolutely committed" to keeping the majority of its content free to all.

But she said the newspaper needed a "healthy strand of subscription income to Guardian Unlimited".

The Guardian is also planning an advertising-free version of its site, which users will be able to view for 20 a year.

Annual subscription to the Guardian will cost 98.57 a year or 10 a month.

Other newspapers that have begun charging for their online content include The Times, The Financial Times and The Independent.

"It is not a decision we have taken lightly, as we value our ability to reach and communicate with a broad community of users above all else," said Ms Bell.

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