The Times unveils membership scheme for non-subscribers

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LONDON - News International hopes to boost the readership of The Times through a membership rewards scheme called Times+.

The programme will act as an umbrella membership brand, encompassing its Culture+ scheme, which was launched last year to existing subscribers.

A Travel+ scheme will also sit under the Times+ banner, to be joined in the coming months by other section-related schemes such as Food & Drink. Brand partners in the Travel+ package will include Eurostar, Mr & Mrs Smith and Virgin Holidays.

Times+ will target both subscribers and prospective customers. Katie Vanneck-Smith, managing director customer direct, News International, said Culture+ had been launched as a retention tool for The Times but would also drive new subscriptions. Non-subscribers will be charged £50 a year to receive information about Times+ events, offers and gifts but will be free to subscribers.

The programme will be backed by a campaign featuring the newspaper's columnists, including Jeremy Clarkson, Cosmo Landesman and Libby Purves advocating Times+. The scheme is being launched with a Times+ membership card and website created by digital agency Clock.

Vanneck-Smith, who aims to sign up 150,000 members to the scheme, said it would help The Times ‘create a value proposition so that we become less reliant on advertising'.

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