'Boston Globe' Debuts Digital Edition

Boston Globe Reader

Like other major newspaper publishers, the New York Times Co. is seeking new ways to monetize digital content at its various properties. In the most recent move, The Boston Globe has launched a new digital product that includes E-reader software and a digital version of the newspaper, called GlobeReader, which will be available to new subscribers for $4.98 per week. Subscribers to the print version of the newspaper get it for free.

The GlobeReader is the final version of the electronic edition that appeared in "preview" form earlier this year, adding more sports and weather content, as well as the daily crossword and comic strips.

It is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. In addition to the basic daily subscription, new digital subscribers can also opt for a package that includes the paper's Sunday print edition.

A number of big metro dailies have rolled out digital versions that can be viewed on desktop and laptop computers over the last couple of years. Publishers are also looking to a new generation of portable devices, like Amazon's Kindle, as a source of additional subscription revenues.

In March, it was revealed that Hearst Corp. is preparing to introduce a new electronic reader and will encourage other publishers to license the technology, so they can deliver content to the device as well.

NYTCO, which partnered with Amazon for the development of the newest Kindle readers, needs whatever help it can get. Earlier this year, the company threatened to sell or close The Boston Globe unless unions agreed to substantial cuts in pay and benefits. It only obtained these concessions after drawn-out negotiations.

More recently, NYTCO said total revenues fell 16.9%, from $687 million in the third quarter of 2008 to $570.6 million in the third quarter of 2009. Total revenues at the New England Media Group fell 12.6% to $109.7 million -- a smaller drop than the company average -- due partly to an 18.4% increase in circulation revenues, to $45.9 million.

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