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Torstar says it will launch Toronto Star paywall on Tuesday

A Toronto Star newspaper in a street box.

Tibor Kolley/The Globe and Mail

The Toronto Star will begin asking its web readers to pay for content starting on Tuesday.

The country's biggest paper by circulation told staff that details of the program, including how much it costs, will appear in both the newspaper and online.

The model will ask readers to pay for full access to online content with a digital subscription to the Star.

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The first month of digital access costs 99 cents, then $9.99 a month plus HST after that, but will be free for home subscribers who meet certain conditions.

Toronto-area residents who sign up for digital access can also get free home delivery on Saturday until Dec. 31.

Other Canadian media outlets have launched "metered" paywalls that allow readers to access a specific number of free articles each month before they're asked to pay for further content. The Star is offering non-subscribers 10 free online articles per month.

Parent company Torstar Corp. has been testing the paywall at other newspapers it owns like the Hamilton Spectator and the Waterloo Region Record.

Last year, both the Globe and Mail and National Post owner Postmedia began unrolling their own paywall structures.

On Tuesday, Torstar also ended a short-lived venture into small business media coverage, with the closure of two paywalled websites it owned.

The publisher of the Toronto Star and several other dailies notified staff at YourMississaugaBiz and YourHamiltonBiz that both sites would cease operations effective immediately.

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About 15 employees are affected by the decision, said Bob Hepburn, a spokesman for the media company.

"It's a business decision based on the economic conditions," he said in a phone interview.

The YourMississaugaBiz website launched last year while YourHamiltonBiz began operating in January. Both went behind a paywall earlier this year, and readers could subscribe to each website for about $30 per month.

Torstar holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with the parent companies of the Globe and Mail and Montreal La Presse.

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