The Times to offer daily live debates behind the paywall

The Times is to offer daily live debates and discussions as part of a range of incentives to encourage readers to pay for access to its website.

News International contacted preview subscribers last night to disclose a few of the new features it plans to bring in when it introduces paywall barriers to the websites of The Times and Sunday Times newspapers in June.

In addition to daily discussions with political, cultural, business and sporting figures Times Online, which will be relaunched as Thetimes.co.uk, will offer greater interaction with its reporters.

The planned launch of a stand-alone website for the Sunday Times will see it introduce a ‘culture planner”.

The interactive feature promises weekly events calendars, critics recommending ‘must-sees”, video previews, a ticket booking facility and remote TV recording through the site – presumably with a link to Sky’s set-top technology.

‘These are just two of the many new features you’ll find on our new websites,’an email update from News International said.

‘Soon you’ll be able to do more than just read the news – you can debate it, interrogate it, watch it, shape it and be part of it 24 hours a day.”

In the promotional material News International also said its new Times website would allow readers the opportunity to ‘become part of the debate and engage with the news”.

The publisher said it will also allow readers to ‘ask our journalists about their stories’while an OpEd Live feature will let ‘columnists and contributors bring their comment pieces to life online’however it does not go into detail on how these new features may work.

News International announced last month that from June readers would be charged £1 for a day’s access to the websites of its quality newspapers or £2 for a week’s subscription. Payment will allow access to both websites.

A weekly subscription will also give readers access to an e-paper version and other new, as yet unnamed, digital applications.

Access to all digital services will be included in the price for those who already subscribe to the print versions of The Times and The Sunday Times.

Currently, content from The Times and The Sunday Times is available free through Times Online.

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