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Nynex Corp. last week joined forces with newspaper giant Times Mirror Co. for an interactive media venture in one of the nation's most strategic markets.

The two companies plan to jointly offer an "interactive shopping service" in the New York metropolitan area starting next year.

The service will pair the newspaper advertising and information resources of Times Mirror's Newsday and New York Newsday with Nynex's telephone services.

Initially offered only in southern New York state, it's probable the service would soon be expanded to include all of Nynex's 6.5 million residential customers in New York, including nearly 1 million business customers.

If successful, the service would likely be rolled out to all 12 million Nynex customers in the seven-state region it serves within a few years, industry insiders say.

Described as a greatly expanded version of directory assistance, Nynex said the service will offer the location and directions of stores, restaurants and events; menus; entertainment programs; real estate listings; lists of businesses' products and services; and details about short-term sales and promotional events.

No transactions will be conducted through the service, but Nynex hopes to add personal computer access for users and linkage to interactive TV platforms when they become available.

"Instead of calling information merely to get the name of a department store, a caller looking for a bedspread will be able to find out which store nearby is having a white sale, what the hours are and where the store is located," said Pete Renner, VP-information services for White Plains, N.Y.-based Nynex.

The service will generate revenues from businesses listed on the service, as well as fees charged to consumers for using it.

"We haven't determined what the fees will be, but it will likely be low-cost for consumers, and businesses will pay to participate as part of their newspaper or Yellow Pages advertising," Mr. Renner said.

No plans have yet been made for advertising the service to customers, he said.

Although Times Mirror announced a similar interactive information partnership last year with a division of California's Pacific Telesis Group, Nynex said its joint venture was formed after talking to "numerous" media companies and following separate online media explorations with other companies, including Prodigy Services Co.

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