The New York Times made the announcement today that marks the end of free news on their website. From now on, you will be able to access up to twenty online articles per month free of charge. Reading the news on your smartphone will set you back fifteen bucks a month and five more bucks if you’re accessing their content from a tablet. They also offer a combined $35 per month plan that buys you full access to the New York Times website via the web, as well as smartphone and tablet apps.

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The new subscription plans are being put into effect beginning with March 28 and in-app subscriptions via their iOS app will launch on June 30.

Accessing articles via blog and social media links will not count against the free monthly allowance.

According to a press release issued today, accessing online articles beyond the imposed 20-article a month limit will require a paid subscription unless you are subscribed to the paper’s print edition:

The subscription plan allows for free access to a set amount of content across digital platforms. When the monthly reading limit is reached, users who are not already home delivery subscribers will be asked to become digital subscribers. Digital subscriptions will be available in the United States and globally on March 28, 2011. The Times is launching digital subscriptions in the Canadian market beginning today in order to fine-tune the customer experience prior to the global launch.

For non-home delivery subscribers, the release says, the basic $15 per month package will offer unlimited access to the NYTimes.com website via a smartphone app. Tablet owners will be paying $20 a month for the privilege and those seeking to enjoy the NYTimes.com stories via both platforms can purchase the combined $35 a month subscription which amounts to more than $450 a year for full access.

The New York Times Company joins Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. as the second publishing empire to agree to Apple’s new in-app subscription rules, meaning the publisher will surrender 30 percent of the proceeds from subscriptions made inside their reader app on the iOS platform.

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