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New Century Network Dissolved

March 10, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ New Century Network, a consortium of nine major newspaper companies formed to help bring papers onto the Internet, is dissolving after its members failed to decide on a new business plan.

NCN’s members have formed their own online businesses since the partnership was founded three years ago, making it too difficult to find a common strategy, NCN’s board said in a statement today.

``Not enough members felt strongly enough to keep it going,″ said board member Harry Chandler, director of new business development at the Los Angeles Times.

The board decided Monday to shut down NCN immediately, leaving 40 employees out of work.

The partnership’s demise comes less than two weeks after NCN trimmed its staff by about one-third and said its primary focus would be on attracting advertisers for its member newspapers.

In late February, NCN said it would stop displaying news on its Internet site, NewsWorks, which would instead serve primarily as a search engine for about 140 member papers online. The move, which eliminated 20 positions, marked the second time this year that NCN trimmed its editorial staff.

The nine member companies reportedly poured $27 million into the venture. Chandler would not comment on the investment.

NCN’s members have no concrete plans to continue seeking national advertisers as a group, Chandler said.

``Each of us obviously are free to work any other ad network, but there is no group decision on that,″ he said.

NCN was formed nearly three years ago to help lead newspapers into the electronic age, initially by providing consulting and software for papers that wanted to go online.

The partners are Advance Publications Inc., Cox Newspapers Inc., Gannett Co., The Hearst Corp., Knight Ridder, The New York Times Co., Times-Mirror Inc., Tribune Co. and The Washington Post Co. The Associated Press, while not a partner, has been a supplier to NewsWorks.

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