News Corp. Buys Skiff, Invests in Brill-Crovitz Startup

Ahead of Rupert Murdoch's paywalls, company acquires e-reader platform, stake in Journalism Online

With Rupert Murdoch gearing up to roll out his much-anticipated paywall plan, News Corp. on Monday made a pair of announcements aimed at helping goose that process.

The company announced that it has acquired Skiff, the e-reading platform for digital devices – including tablets — owned by Hearst.

It also announced a partnership of Journalism Online LLC, the much-hyped venture launched last year by Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz aimed at helping newspapers and magazines make money – any money – online.

Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Late last year, Brill said more than 1,200 publications representing more than 90 million unique monthly visitors had signed on. While Journalism Online has declined to reveal who its clients are, until Monday, News Corp. was reportedly not one of them.

“Today’s developments underscore News Corporation’s ongoing commitment to create strong business models that support journalism at a time of great change in our industry,”

News Corp. chief digital officer Jon Miller called the deals were  “key building blocks in our strategy to transform the publishing industry.”

Also as part of its announcements, the company named Jon Housman president of its digital journalism initiatives.

Skiff also produces an eponymous e-reader, but that wasn't part of the deal, and Hearst is said to be looking for a buyer.

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