Seen as a move that might lead other newspaper chains to do the same, The New York Times acquired About.com for about $410 million, as reported in this Reuters article. This also comes on the heels of the Dow Jones & Co. Inc. deal to purchase the website MarketWatch Inc. as well.
Newspapers realize the need to be a stronger presence on the Internet. Many larger papers are even turning a profit by selling ads and sponsorships to specific site areas. But as everyone knows, the most important piece of a newspaper is, indeed, its news. And until newspapers can do a stellar job at supplying that news in digital format, people will be turned off by the process. Personally, I think there will always be some need for a printed product, but just as there are radio stations and CDs, both web-related news sites and newspapers can definitely co-exist.
Expect the trend of newspaper chains investing in established content websites to continue. Possible contestants include CNet, geared toward the tech-types, and iVillage, which caters to women.