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Yahoo delivers the Times for some fees

The Web portal and The New York Times alter their distribution deal so that only "top stories" are free on Yahoo News. All other stories will cost $2.50 apiece.

Yahoo on Wednesday introduced a new paid service on its site, charging people for access to archived articles penned for The New York Times.

People who search for articles on Yahoo News will receive some results that require them to pay $2.50 to read a full story from the Times. These paid stories from the newspaper's online archive are listed throughout the search results and in a separate section on the bottom of the page.

The Times charges the same fee for single articles that are more than seven days old on its own Web site. It was unclear whether Yahoo or the Times would be collecting the fees for archived articles viewed on Yahoo News.

The arrangement is an alteration of the two companies' existing deal to offer Times content on the popular Web portal. As part of the revised deal, the Times has pulled back the number of articles it plans to offer Yahoo readers for no charge. Now, only stories that are considered the "top stories" will be posted free of charge; its remaining articles on Yahoo News, which date back to Jan. 1, 2001, will require payments to read.

Yahoo would not disclose the terms of the deal. But Chris McGill, the director of Yahoo News, said the changes reflect the company's overall emphasis on growing its premium services business. He added that offering as free only the Times' top stories of the day would not disrupt the way visitors behave on the site.

"The fact is that 90 percent of the consumption is of top stories," McGill said. "We're only going to maintain top stories on Yahoo News and then adding archives on top of that."

Yahoo has been experimenting with new sources of revenue as a way to counterbalance the online advertising collapse. The company has seen its revenue plummet over the past two years, and CEO Terry Semel has set a mandate to diversify the way Yahoo makes money.

Since Semel took the helm just over a year ago, Yahoo has accelerated its plans to introduce paid services throughout its site. Earlier this year, the company began charging fees for its e-mail forwarding service and its photos site, among others.