The Financial Times reports that Mattel is hoping that the 11m online Barbie doll fans can help it offset the decline in the sales of real dolls. The toy company is going to charge for access to a site that promotes its own toys, introducing subscription-based elements to its rapidly growing “virtual world” website.

Bob Eckert, Mattel’s chief executive officer, told Wall Street analysts that the new “VIP” tier on the site will be “competitively priced” when it is launched in May, but declined to give further details.

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