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NYTimes.com offers "premium" clips

New York Times Digital is selling video clips of interviews with famous artists and public figures, the latest Net publisher to place a premium on broadcasts.

New York Times Digital started selling video clips of interviews with famous artists and public figures, the latest Net publisher to place a premium on broadcasts.

TimesTalks Online is the Web site's first paid programming for streaming media. The original collection of six video broadcasts, originating from the The New York Times' Critic's Choice events held in New York earlier this year, features interviews with director Martin Scorsese, news anchor Peter Jennings and musician Lou Reed, among others. The interviews sell for $5.95 each or $19.95 as a collection.

Visitors who wish to view the new paid programming must install and use RealNetworks' media player, RealPlayer.

New York Times Digital's NYTimes.com site joins a number of Web publishers in the pursuit of turning a profit--or at least breaking even--in the high-cost business of delivering streaming video and audio broadcasts. CNN, SoapCity and Comedy Central are just a few companies that have recently begun setting fees to view online broadcasts. Yahoo is also researching whether consumers would be willing to pay for Webcasts.

To help publishers offset the high costs of delivering video online, RealNetworks recently introduced software called RBN Managed Subscription Service, allowing content producers to create subscription services for their online media. The software lets Web publishers take the reins to create different billing and viewing methods such as pay-per-view, rental or bulk subscriptions.

New York Times Digital has slowly been cordoning off content in recent months, allowing access to select articles and features for a small fee. The publication charges various rates for access to The New York Times archives dating back to 1996, crossword puzzles and solutions, and its Topics in Depth, archived collections of up to nine articles on a single subject. It recently added to this collection a selection of articles from political columnist Maureen Dowd, among others. In addition, the publication introduced a new Editor's Picks mini-site, featuring the Oscar's best pictures winners from 1929 to 2002.

Each paid video program lasts about one hour and is subdivided into segments ranging from 4 to 17 minutes.

"This week marks a significant milestone for our premium content strategy," Scott Meyer, vice president and general manager of NYTimes.com, said in a statement. "The launch of our first paid streaming video product, the expansion of Topics in Depth, and the introduction of Best Pictures represent the next step in our efforts to package and merchandise archival content."

New York Times Digital is a unit of The New York Times Co.