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New York Times to start charging for website

NEW YORK - The New York Times says it will start charging for access to its website and for the use of smart phone and tablet applications later this month in the U.S.

Beginning March 28, prices start at $15 for four weeks of full access to the website and the smart phone app.

Subscribers to the printed edition will keep free access to the website and apps. Others will be able to view 20 articles a month for free on the website and see the "Top News" section in the apps.

Newspapers are trying to increase digital revenue as online ad revenue, while growing, hasn't fully offset the declines in print.

A similar system will go into effect on Thursday in Canada, which will serve as a testing ground.

The Times announced details of the long-planned paywall aid in a letter to readers posted on its website Thursday, calling it "an important step that we hope you will see as an investment in The Times, one that will strengthen our ability to provide high-quality journalism to readers around the world and on any platform."

"The change will primarily affect those who are heavy consumers of the content on our Web site and on mobile applications," the paper said.