R.R. Donnelley buys Brill’s Journalism Online

By Reuters
Posted March 24 at 8:48 a.m.

Media veterans Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz sold their company Journalism Online that helps publishers charge for content to printing services firm R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. R.R. Donnelley did not disclose terms of the acquisition Thursday.

Brill and Crovitz, along with Leo Hindery Jr. started Journalism Online in April 2009 as publishers began contemplating pay models for online access to articles, videos and photos.

Journalism Online’s system Press+ lets publishers charge for content in a variety of ways including day or week passes, print and online bundles, and monthly subscriptions.

The company has two dozen customers including MediaNews Group.

The move to acquire Journalism Online comes as newspapers seek alternative revenue sources in the face of dramatic declines in advertising revenue and readership as more people get their news from the Internet.

“Our publishing customers continue to develop multi-channel advertising and editorial strategies and Press+ provides a valuable tool for monetizing content,” Thomas J. Quinlan III, RR Donnelley’s president and chief executive, said in a statement.

The New York Times, one of the United States’ biggest and most closely watched newspapers, is rolling out a pay model for its website NYTimes.com, smartphone, and iPad app in the U.S. on March 28. Brill, the founder of American Lawyer magazine and Court TV, and Crovitz, former publisher of the Wall Street Journal, will remain with Journalism Online.

The Wall Street Journal has been successfully charging for content for more than 10 years. In June 2010, News Corp , which owns the Wall Street Journal, made an investment in Journalism Online.

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