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New York Times Starts Business to Help Publishers on IPads

New York Times Co., owner of the namesake newspaper, started Press Engine, a business designed to help other publishers deliver content to digital platforms such as Apple Inc.’s iPad and iPhone devices.

Times Co. will collect license fees and maintenance fees from publishers and media organizations that use the technology and design solutions for digital distribution. Individual publishers will continue to control and own their advertising and subscriptions, the New York-based company said today in a statement.

The Telegraph Media Group, publisher of the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph, and A.H. Belo Corp., the Dallas-based owner of the Dallas Morning News, will be among Press Engine’s customers when the product is introduced in the fourth quarter, Times Co. said.

“This is part of the multi-faceted move into new technology” at Times Co., said Ed Atorino, an analyst at Benchmark Co. in New York. “They’ve got the content, they’ve got the brainpower. We’ll see if people will pay for this stuff.”

Publishers are seeking ways to replace a drop in newspaper print advertising sales, which fell 11 percent in the U.S. in the first quarter, according to Newspaper Association of America data.

The New York Times newspaper is preparing to unveil in January a new online subscription model, which will make much of its Web content available only to visitors who pay fees for access. The company is also planning to sell an enhanced application for Apple’s iPad, which will be offered in addition to the free app currently available on the device.

Times Co. rose 58 cents, or 6.6 percent, to $9.32, at 12 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock had declined 29 percent this year before today.

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