Is the Sun looking at charging for content again?

UPDATE: News International has finally confirmed that the paid for archive website for The Sun, which appeared online earlier this week, is not part of an effort to charge UK consumers for historic content from The Sun and News of the World.

I blogged on Tuesday that this could be the case as on the surface that is what it looked like. However, while the site is still there, it is said to be connected to News Corporation’s Australian arm and syndication efforts, including The Australian which launched a metered paywall in October. So no tabloid paywall for the UK any time soon, at least as far as News International is concerned.

Is News International looking again at charging for content from The Sun?

I blogged last year that News International had ditched the idea of putting up a paywall for The Sun, but an archive website has now appeared offering access to historical Sun content for 50p an article.

It looks like the real thing although no word back yet from News International as to whether this is something new for 2012 and what it means.

According to the site “downloads are valid for one year from the date of purchase” and “searching the database is free but each download is chargeable”.

The charges are listed as starting at 50p per article with a minimum payment £2.50.  You can get 12 downloads for £5 (42p per article) or 25 downloads for £10 (40p per article).

It says its free to search, but you need a username and password to do that and it asks for your credit card details upon registration.

If it is the real thing it will be a sign that News International is beginning to lower the threshold on what content it gives away for free.

It will also be another sign of its intentions to charge for tabloid content at some point in the future.