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Times may revive some Web fees

Associated Press / February 4, 2009
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NEW YORK - The editor of The New York Times has hinted that the newspaper might charge again for access to some of its online offerings, less than two years after abandoning fees to boost advertising revenue.

Executive editor Bill Keller gave no specifics, and company officials characterized the internal discussions as general and ongoing. In an online discussion with readers this week, Keller said that although advertising generates the bulk of online revenue, "a lively, deadly serious discussion continues within the Times about ways to get consumers to pay for what we make."

Possibilities include charging for full-access subscriptions, developing a micropayment model in which readers pay a few pennies each time they click on a page, and selling news to be distributed on reading devices, as the Times already does with Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle. The New York Times Co. owns The Boston Globe and Boston.com.

Keller said the Times makes a modest amount of money from Kindle owners who download an electronic version of the newspaper and from subscribers to TimesReader software.

Newspaper publishers have been grappling with how to generate more revenue from their growing online audiences, because Internet ads still sell for less than a comparable print ad.

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