AS NEWS Ltd inches closer to a 50 per cent stake in Foxtel, it has already started using the pay TV company to boost its newspaper business and online subscription numbers.

From Thursday Foxtel will offer free installation and a year’s half-price subscription to people who purchase one of News Ltd’s Digital Passes.

Foxtel expects about 450 people will take up the offer, according to a notification recently lodged with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

News started charging readers for full access to its online content in October last year.

It has been reluctant to release subscriber numbers since March, when it published its own figures showing it had 40,000 digital subscribers, of which a quarter were complimentary 12-month digital passes to new subscribers of the paper edition.

The Foxtel offer will run for one month.

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