MEDIA: Webactive ups ante with 75p cover price

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.

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