Media veterans Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz sold their company Journalism Online, which helps publishers charge for content, to RR Donnelley & Sons Co, the printing services company said on Thursday.
RR Donnelley did not disclose terms of the acquisition.
Brill and Crovitz, along with Leo Hindery Jr., started Journalism Online in April 2009 as publishers began contemplating pay models for online access to articles, videos and photos.
Brill, the founder of American Lawyer magazine and Court TV, and Crovitz, former publisher of the Wall Street Journal, will remain with Journalism Online.
Journalism Online's system Press + lets publishers charge for content in a variety of ways including day or week passes, print and online bundles, and monthly subscriptions.
The company has two dozen customers including MediaNews Group.
To be part of a very large global company with exactly the same strategy as ours is a great opportunity, Crovitz said.
The move to acquire Journalism Online comes as newspapers seek alternative revenue sources in the face of dramatic declines in advertising revenue and readership as more people get their news from the Internet.
What (RR Donnelley) is all about is providing services to publishers, said Brill. That is what we are about and they have much more reach than we have.
The New York Times, one of the United States' biggest and most closely watched newspapers, is rolling out a pay model for its website NYTimes.com, smartphone, and iPad app in the U.S. on March 28.
The Wall Street Journal has been successfully charging for content for more than 10 years. In June 2010, News Corp, which owns the Wall Street Journal, made an investment in Journalism Online.
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba, editing by Dave Zimmerman and Derek Caney)