NYT Forms Business Segment To Focus On Digital Reading Apps

The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) is forming a special business segment with in its NYT Media Group dedicated to managing products and tools related to all forms of e-reading. In the internal memo (included below) introducing the group’s fifth segment, the paper’s president and GM Scott Heekin-Canedy announced the appointment of Yasmin Namini (image, left) as general manager of the new Reader Applications business unit. While e-reader products were previously managed by the NYT’s Consumer Marketing department, the creation of this new segment reflects the rapid rollout of various e-reading devices and tools.

Namini will be charged with coordinating the NYT’s response new and existing products. It’s also probably not a coincidence that the NYT’s news comes two days before Apple’s big presentation, which is expected to include an announcement of its long-rumored tablet product — and the possibility that the NYT may be among the first content partners for that device.

For Namini, this new post is in addition to her current duties as SVP, Marketing and Circulation for NYT Media Group, which includes the paper and its website, as well as the International Herald Tribune and News Services. The existing four segments are the newspaper, NYTimes.com, the International Herald Tribune and News Services.

Aside from the excitement over the pending Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) announcement, the NYT, which already was among the most active newspapers in trying new digital forms of distribution with the TimesReader, Kindle edition, iPhone app and more, has added even more e-reader products. In November, the NYT started a new e-paper promotion with Samsung. A few days later, it introduced a new website app called Times Skimmer, which displays headlines and short summaries of articles in a grid layout, which users can customize one of several ways. Beyond the reader experience, Skimmer is meant to appeal to advertisers, who get a prominent space on each slide.

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Message from Scott Heekin-Canedy: A Masthead Announcement

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Yasmin Namini as General Manager of a new Reader Applications business segment within The New York Times Media Group. Yasmin will add this title to her current role as SVP, Marketing and Circulation for NYTMG. The New York Times Media Group currently comprises four business segments: the newspaper, NYTimes.com, the International Herald Tribune and News Services.

This new fifth segment will give an operational and financial home to the products that offer a digital reading experience similar to the print platform. The Times has been a leader in this category with the launch of the electronic edition in 2001, Times Reader in 2006, the Kindle edition in 2007, and more recently the Sony (NYSE: SNE) Reader and Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) Nook. To date, these products have been managed in our Consumer Marketing department, but recent and expected growth support a change to view them collectively as a profit generating business.

Over the past four years, Yasmin has brought outstanding leadership to our circulation, marketing and research, and has masterfully overseen the development and marketing of these products and business relationships through the start-up stage. She is viewed as a leader in the industry in all of these respects.

Yasmin was named SVP Circulation in 2006 and to her current position in June 2007. Previously, she was Chief Customer Officer for the New England Media Group since 2005. Before that, she served as Senior Vice President, Consumer Marketing at the New England Newspaper Group and Senior Vice President, Circulation at The Boston Globe since 2000. She also served as Vice President, Circulation Marketing at The New York Times since 1999.

Yasmin joined The Times in 1984 in the circulation department and held positions of increasing responsibility in sales, marketing, planning and product development. She received a B.S. degree in psychology from the University of Maryland and a Master