Director general of RTE Noel Curran has said that the Irish news site will soon begin charging a fee for access to their online content.

RTE is Ireland’s national radio and television service.

Speaking to journalism students at the University of Limerick, Curran warned that those who consume news and media online are going to have to prepay for it, as news aggregators are lifting it for free while original producers, like RTE, have to bear all the costs.

He said that RTE will begin charging its overseas users for online content before the end of the year, the Irish Independent reports.

"We won't be doing that in the Irish audience because people in Ireland pay their licence fee and we are not going to be putting up a general paywall, but we are going to be looking at premium content packages in the international market over the next six months," said Curran.

He told the students that 54 percent of Irish people still read a daily newspaper.

"That rises to 60 per cent every Sunday. That is a very high figure. It is shrinking and facing huge challenges but that is still a very high figure for newspaper consumption.

"What that shows is that a large proportion of Irish people are still interested in getting Irish news. If we don't have Irish newspapers, who is going to provide Irish news? Not news aggregators, who are just lifting it off other people. Not the very big companies like Google – a brilliant company, but they don't go into that market."

Curran said that newspapers will need to bring their readers with them to their online products.

"That is not to underestimate the challenge. Don't write them (newspapers) off," he added.

RTE Player: Irish national broadcaster to charge for online content