VNU Business Publications is to attack the monthly internet
magazine market launching a title costing just 75p.
When Webactive is launched on 31 May, it is sure to cause raised
eyebrows at rival publisher IPC - and not just because of the bargain
basement cover price.
In a statement, IPC said it will be 'interesting' to see how VNU
launches the title 'given the name is very close to (IPC's) Web
This is a barbed reference to last week's revelations that IPC had made
design changes to Web User in order to avoid VNU's accusation of
VNU had said that Web User, which bills itself as 'the no-nonsense guide
to the best of the net', was too close in look and content to VNU's
325,000-selling PC fortnightly, Computeractive. The dispute was settled
out of court.
Web Active publisher Simon Haisman denied VNU's new title will reignite
any simmering row with IPC. 'Web User is aimed squarely at the
fortnightly market,' he commented.
He said VNU had decided against that frequency because 'we don't feel
the market's there, full stop'. Web Active, whose editor is Jonathan
Parkin, will compete with titles such as .net and the net.
Haisman said Web Active, which evolved from a supplement last October in
Computeractive, would have the same brand values as its parent
'It will take the difficult and make it easy,' he said.
But internet surfers require less hand-holding than PC users, he added:
'The learning curve on the internet is far shallower than on a PC. We
believe we will have less long-term readers and more of a churn.'
The cover price was pitched to reflect the fact that online information
is generally free or nominally priced. 'It's in keeping with the whole
ethos of the internet but it will drive them into newsstands to buy
magazines,' he said.