By: Wayne Robins

The Times Co. Buys Minority Stake In Austin Company

You’ll soon be able to subscribe to, download, and read The New York
Times on your computer – the same Times that you can now hold in
your hands.

In a move that combines the digital immediacy of the online edition with the
layout, photography, design and advertising of the print version, The New York
Times Co. has entered into a five-year agreement with Newsstand, Inc., a digital
publishing company based in Austin, Texas.

By the middle of the year, you’ll be able to buy the Times, as it look’s in
print, via computer on a single copy or subscription basis anywhere in the
world. “This is the digital equivalent of a new printing press distribution
capability,” said Scott Heekin-Canedy, senior vice president of circulation for
the Times, in a phone interview.

The Times has also bought a minority interest in Newsstand Inc., a
company started less than 18 months ago by its president, Tracey Jones. “Our
goal was to develop a suite of software utilities a publisher can use to
generate ABC audit-able electronic editions,” Jones said. “They have to be
complete copies, with the same layout, all the ads, it has to essentially BE the
newspaper,” he said, describing the distinction between what Newsstand delivers
and the current online edition of

Newsstand’s proprietary software applications include The NewsStand Reader,
which subscribers will need to download to access the digital Times,
PaperPusher, and NewsStand Delivery Service. When it is rolled out in mid-2001,
Newsstand Reader will be compatible only with Windows formats. “Our plan is to
introduce a Mac client at a later date,” Jones said. He said that Newsstand
Reader has been successfully tested with Virtual PC, an application that makes
Windows applications accessible to Mac users.

Newsstand’s claim to fame may be its stated ability to overcome daunting issues
of download speed and file size. Donwnloading the entire Sunday Times, for
example, might take until Tuesday to those with 56k modem connections to the
Internet, and the files would be Brobdingnagian.

What Jones calls “the secret sauce” to the Newsstand software is it should be
able to compress nearly a gigabyte of information to the neighborhood of 20
megabytes. And those with slower modem connections can order scheduled downloads
overnight, to transpire while they sleep. The Times should be on your
computer when you wake, though the user will still need to make their own

Cost of single issues or subscriptions has not been decided, though Heekin-
Canedy expected that the price, in keeping with Audit Bureau of Circulation
guidelines, would be comparable to that of the print edition.

Wayne Robins (
is an associate editor covering new media for E&P.

Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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