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Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

CIRCULATION AID

Major paper publishers start joint news Web site


Staff writer

A new Web site will be launched Thursday by the nation's three major newspaper publishers — Nikkei Inc., The Asahi Shimbun Co. and The Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings — that will allow viewers to compare the content of their news, the publishers said Wednesday.

By accessing the new Web site, users will be able to compare front page news, general news and editorials of the three newspapers free of charge. "Through this business tieup, we hope to create new value as news media and increase our influence on the Internet," said Kohei Osada, head of Nikkei-Asahi-Yomiuri Internet Business Partnership, the organization in charge of the Web site.

The move comes as the industry faces difficulty maintaining an extensive home delivery system, particularly in remote areas where the population is dwindling.

Japan is one of the few developed nations to have seen only a slight drop in newspaper circulation over the past decade, a trend often attributed to home delivery and loyal readership. But newspaper publishers are concerned that subscriptions will drop further as many readers now use the Internet to get news.

The Web site, to be launched Thursday around 7 a.m., will offer news in Japanese for now, but Osada said he will consider adding English content in the future.

The Web site will aim at attracting 4 million page views monthly, much lower than the some 15 million to 20 million page views a month each of the newspaper's Web sites currently gets.

"Because users will jump to each newspaper's Web site when they read stories, we don't think there will be that many page views," Osada said. "But we think many users will stay for a longer period of time, allowing them more opportunities to look at ads."

The partnership, which plans to turn a profit through advertising, said it hopes to go into the black in its third year.



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The Japan Times

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