AdAge has the story:
The New York Times is offering a platform that other publishers can use to produce their own apps for devices starting with the iPad and iPhone.
The first publishers to sign up to use the platform, which The Times is calling Press Engine, are the Telegraph Media Group and three A.H. Belo newspapers: Dallas Morning News, Providence Journal and Press-Enterprise in Southern California. The publishers keep any advertising and circulation revenue the apps bring in; they pay the Times a one-time license fee for the platform and then a monthly maintenance fee.
I'm intrigued but not surprised. When the NYTimes decided to develop these apps in house they started to turn themselves into a tech company. (They already were, actually, but that's beside the point.) The next logical step after developing software for your own use is to license it and recoup the development cost.