Oct 16, 7:04 PM EDT

Inquirer, Daily News sites merging with Philly.com

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News will shutter their individual websites and refocus attention on their joint Philly.com portal.

Company officials say the fee-based newspaper sites will close in December, less than two years after they launched.

Philly.com will remain free for now. However, newsroom leaders say that could change once they address the site's content.

In a letter to staff Thursday, the company says the Inquirer and Daily News replica edition apps will remain premium products for subscribers.

Staff members have endured a quick succession of owners, a prolonged bankruptcy and the plane crash death of co-owner Lewis Katz in just the past few years.

The company, Interstate General Media, is now owned by Katz's investment partner, philanthropist H. F. "Gerry" Lenfest.

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