Fri, Feb 23, 2001 EST
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New York Times to Sell Copies Via Electronic Newsstand
By Adam Geller   Associated Press
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NEW YORK — The New York Times Co. will begin selling a digital facsimile of its flagship newspaper over the Internet this spring, the fruit of a deal announced Tuesday with online publisher NewsStand Inc.

The Times Co. also is taking a minority stake in Austin, Tex.-based NewsStand, the companies said.

The new online version of the Times — replicating the day's paper, complete with the photos, graphics and ads — will sell for about the same price as its print counterpart, even though the newspaper's existing Web site offers most of its editorial content for free.

But executives say the new offering will appeal to a range of underserved readers, including people living in areas where the printed edition is not available and those who want to read the paper on their computers but want a more complete product than is already available online.

"We think this has very substantial potential for the New York Times. It allows us to reach potential consumers where we can't reach them now with the newspaper," said Scott Heekin-Canedy, senior vice president for circulation.

The Times will test out the new product this spring, offering it through one of its own Web sites. It will be available in the fall to both single-copy buyers and subscribers when NewsStand plans to open a virtual newspaper and magazine shop offering numerous publications.

A single copy of the newspaper on the newsstand costs 75 cents within the New York City area; $1 elsewhere.

The companies, which signed a five-year agreement, would not disclose the financial terms of their deal or the size of the Times' stake in the privately held NewsStand.

The launch of the new product will not effect the content offered on its existing site and the company does not plan to charge for access to that site, Heekin-Canedy said.

Instead, the NewsStand version of the Times will expand the reach of the print edition, in much the same way as a new printing plant and distribution network would, giving consumers the news in the format they're comfortable with, executives said.

"It looks and reads just like the traditional newspaper," said Tracey Jones, founder and president of NewsStand. "Consumers have been trained for the last 150 years in how to read the newspaper."

Unlike the newspaper's Web site, readers of the NewsStand version will be able to download the paper in its entirety and read it at any time, an advantage that may appeal to business travelers, the companies said. The Times believes the product may also be embraced by its mail subscribers, who now wait for up to two days to receive the printed version of the paper.

Heekin-Canedy would not comment on the paper's sales projections for the new product.

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