News International has announced that customers will be charged £2 a week to read The Times and The Sunday Times online from June.

Both titles will launch new websites in early May, separating their digital presence for the first time and replacing the existing combined site, Times Online.

The company said the sites will be available for a free trial period to registered customers.

From June, customers will be able to view and, for a charge of £1 for a day's access or £2 for a week's subscription.

Payment will give readers access to both sites. The weekly subscription will also give access to certain new applications.

Access to the digital services will be included in the seven-day subscriptions of print customers to The Times and The Sunday Times.

News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks said: 'At a defining moment for journalism, this is a crucial step towards making the business of news an economically exciting proposition.

'We are proud of our journalism and unashamed to say that we believe it has value.

'This is just the start. The Times and The Sunday Times are the first of our four titles in the UK to move to this new approach.'

The Irish Times has also launched a new subscription-based paper for online readers.

It replaces the previously free 'Today's Paper' section on its website.