TIMES CO. PLEDGES TO PUT NEW MEDIA AT FOREFRONT

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When it acquired the Boston Globe last year for $1.1 billion, The New York Times Co. reaffirmed its faith in the future of ink-on-paper products, to the dismay of some analysts.

Last week, conceding the company is "too dependent on print media," executives said they will spend up to $1.5 billion over the next five years to expand electronic-media holdings.

The primary focus for now is on investments in traditional electronic media, such as broadcast TV stations and cable programming.

But the company also plans a greater presence in new electronic media, fueled by a deal earlier this month with Reed Elsevier that gives the Times Co. control of the content of its flagship newspaper, The New York Times, for use in online and other services.

"In the business/professional market, our deal with Reed Elsevier gives us new freedom to create new products with new service providers," said Times Co. President Lance Primis at last week's PaineWebber Media Outlook conference in New York (additional coverage begins on Page 3).

"In the consumer market, we now have no restriction and therefore can create a broad array of products and services," including CD-ROMs and online offerings. In addition, he said the Times is developing an Internet service that will include classified advertising.

Mr. Primis said the Times Co. is in talks with several online providers, including Prodigy and Microsoft Corp. The Times already publishes on America Online.

By the end of the century, said Gordon Medenica, VP-operations and planning, the Times Co. wants to draw 25% of its profit from electronic media, up from the current 10%. In addition to the Times and Globe, the company's holdings include 28 other newspapers, several sports magazines, five TV stations and two radio stations.

"We recognize that we are too dependent on print media and need to shift our portfolio more toward electronic media over time," Mr. Medenica said.

As part of last week's announcement at the PaineWebber conference, the company unveiled a new unit, Boston Globe Electronic Publishing, to develop interactive news and advertising products for New England. The first product is expected in the second half of next year.

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